Page 3942 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 29 October 2013

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RSPCA ACT, and Michael and Mardi have also willed their estate to the trust to provide a lasting legacy for animal welfare in the territory. Michael and Mardi live with their dog, Dahlia, and eight cats.

As has been reported, Michael has finished his service at the ACT RSPCA. He has been a regular presenter at Assembly committee hearings and was always a passionate, yet reasonable advocate for the interests of the RSPCA and animals. He brought a professional image to the workings of the society in the territory and grew the strength of the brand and, with it, considerable sponsorship from the private sector. He has also been a tireless advocate for a new facility for the RSPCA.

The smooth running of the ever-growing Million Paws Walk, Cupcake Day, pets’ parties and many other initiatives are a credit to him and all the staff at the society. Michael has also had a significant media profile, undertaking hundreds of media interviews here in Canberra and beyond. For a period, Michael was also spending a considerable amount of time in Tasmania, assisting with the management of the society’s Tasmanian state operations.

I know many in Canberra regard Michael as being one of the leading CEOs, if not the leading CEO, of an ACT not-for-profit organisation and his departure from the RSPCA will surely leave a vacuum. However, I look forward to hearing of Michael’s next challenge. I wish him and his wife all the best and thank them for their service to Canberra to date.

Melba men’s shed

MS BERRY (Ginninderra) (4.40): I know I am far from the first member to rise in this place to speak about the men’s shed movement, but after attending the Melba shed’s fifth anniversary lunch two weeks ago I feel that it is important to reflect again on the value these community organisations bring to our neighbourhoods.

I have heard many people in this place and in the community speak about the important role men’s sheds play in helping men connect with and support one another. But having visited the Melba shed several times now, I feel like I have a much better understanding of what that really means.

The fine gentlemen members at the Melba shed tell me that their shed is a talking shed, and whilst there is a lot of talk, there is also a lot of doing going on. Whilst they meet formally on a Friday, the men’s shed can be found out enjoying each other’s company most days of the week. I am particularly impressed by their riding group, where members of the shed along for the ride will not all just get a good workout and a chat; they will also get some advice on prostate-friendly bike seats.

Recently I have been lucky enough to be invited to be a guest speaker at the men’s shed to talk about ways they could report common problems in our community to the ACT government. I cannot imagine a bunch of fellows better placed to do that. The members of the Melba shed are not just connected with one another; it is clear that through their involvement in this fantastic organisation they have discovered new opportunities to contribute in their community.

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