Page 3564 - Week 10 - Tuesday, 12 September 2017

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The men’s shed movement began organically in Australia about 20 or so years ago and has evolved into an organisation known as the Australian Men’s Shed Association. A number of other sheds are not members officially of AMSA, the Australian Men’s Shed Association. Some of them that I am aware of include Goodwin Village in Monash. They have a men’s shed there even though it is not officially affiliated with AMSA, and many other retirement communities have a men’s shed type approach as well.

The objective of the men’s shed movement is to advance the wellbeing and health of their male members, to provide a space where men can talk shoulder to shoulder. Of course, there are so many other spin-off benefits. Some of these men’s sheds create fabulous toys and other projects that they give to charities or sell at fetes and then donate the money to other organisations. There are many, many ways in which the work of the men’s sheds benefits not only the men who go to them—and that is enormously important—but also the broader community.

A men’s shed is intended to be accessible to all men, regardless of their background or ability. In fact, I have heard of some men’s sheds just recently who are engaging in relationships and partnerships with Alzheimer’s ACT, where people with Alzheimer’s come along and share making things and painting things with members of the men’s shed. Again, that is another huge benefit to our community as a whole.

The men’s shed provides a safe and friendly environment for men to work on meaningful projects at their own pace, often learn new skills and have the ability to teach and mentor other people in those skills. Every shed is a bit different; they work differently. Some sheds are open every day of the week; some sheds are only open a couple of days of the week. They make, for example, furniture for schools and equipment for training for the Ambulance Service—stretchers and things—and they have mentored school children. It really helps to reduce isolation in our community. Often men’s sheds, as well as the AMSA organisation, apply for grants to facilitate their work.

It is lovely to see here in this place that men’s sheds have the support of everyone; it is a bipartisan thing. We can all recognise and appreciate the benefits of men’s sheds, and we can see that health benefits can be delivered by stealth, if you like, and not necessarily directly. There are around 1,000 men’s sheds in Australia and about 12 in the Canberra area. Another slightly different model I visited recently is the South Canberra Veterans shed, which, of course, is looking for a permanent home. For men who can find themselves isolated, a men’s shed can get them involved in their community, give them meaningful activity and get them some informal advice which will help make their lives and our community better.

MR RAMSAY (Ginninderra—Attorney-General, Minister for Regulatory Services, Minister for the Arts and Community Events and Minister for Veterans and Seniors) (4.04): It is certainly a pleasure to speak on this particular topic, noting the priority that the ACT government places on men’s sheds, and I look forward to speaking briefly on a number of specific examples of that. We know that men’s sheds offer men in the Canberra community a place where they can establish friendships and

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