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Wednesday, 29 February 2012
Page: 2395

Mr SIMPKINS (Cowan) (09:54): Last Sunday I visited the Northern Men's Shed, which is located in the suburb of Wangara in the electorate of Cowan. Since its official launch in November last year it has been very popular and has had many membership inquiries. The Northern Men's Shed is run differently to the other two men's sheds in my electorate. They have made an arrangement with local businessmen to use a very well-set-out shed, which is well equipped with carpentry machinery. In the short period that they have been open they have already built two workbenches for their workshop and are well into making a third. Other projects include the making of wooden toys. It was great to hear the committee members of the club encouraging the members to try and make two of whatever they were making so they could donate or sell one to the local community.

The members of the Northern Men's Shed that I met during my visit last week came from a variety of backgrounds. There were businessmen, tradesmen and professionals, to name a few, but the consistent theme was that everyone was willing to help and support each other to get the projects done in a fun and relaxed manner. For their leadership I acknowledge Ken Kingwell and John Corbett, but I would also like to make special mention of one member I met, Keith Povey. Despite being 88 years old, Keith was highly active in the shed in giving carpentry lessons to other members.

I believe that men's sheds right across the country play an important role in getting men involved in new ventures, meeting new mates and in some cases keeping physically active. The groups bring together a range of men who may not otherwise interact due to their occupation, age or location. I was also told that men's sheds can be useful for fly-in fly-out workers who are looking for daytime activities when they are home, because the majority of their friends work during the day.

However, one thing that did become apparent during my visit was the need for more mainstream funding. I was informed that when applying for funding men's sheds had to identify whether they had members of particular races or minority groups. It seems that, if the members are of white Anglo-Saxon origin, they are less likely to receive funding. In my view, any men's shed, regardless of the make-up of their membership base, would benefit from funding for new materials and tools, and all groups should get their fair share of funding. So I call on the Prime Minister to address the funding criteria for men's sheds. I note that one of the patrons for men's sheds is, of course, Tim Mathieson. Perhaps the she could chat to Tim about the importance of funding for men's health initiatives, regardless of their race, religion or physical abilities.

In conclusion I would like to congratulate the Northern Men's Shed on their successful opening and wish them all the best for expanding their club. The club has big plans and has a lot to offer to the local community. I look forward to learning and seeing some of the projects they are working on completed. It was clear that the members were enthusiastic about the Northern Men's Shed and the men who were present were keen to participate in making things. This is an excellent men's shed that provides great benefits for fun, recreation and wide-ranging therapeutic benefits. I wish them all the best for a very successful and positive future.