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Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Page: 3238


Mrs PRENTICE (RyanAssistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services) (16:59): I take this opportunity to acknowledge the many men's sheds based in my electorate of Ryan. There are more than 930 sheds in Australia. They are places of cohesion and inclusion for men, particularly retired men, to get together. The sheds—and I use the term 'shed' loosely—are vital to ensuring the wellbeing of members. They prevent social isolation by providing a safe and welcoming place for men to participate in meaningful projects and to contribute to the wider community.

Like the member for Banks earlier, I encourage members to take the time to visit their local shed if they have not done so already. Once thought of as places humming with the sound of bandsaws and sanders and the sparks of welders, these organisations cater for a much wider range of interests. Recently I had the privilege of visiting the Kenmore-Bellbowrie men's shed. Located in the former caretaker's cottage of the Queensland government's department of environment site, the once white-ant-riddled, dilapidated house has now been meticulously restored by the shed members into a welcoming meeting place. Their brand-new, fully insulated shed is the envy of many people, including me, and is testament to the pride its members take in keeping the place spick and span.

But it is not just the new shed where a number of activities take place, including wood-turning, welding and sanding. The restored caretaker's cottage has its own library and leatherwork room, catering to just some of the many interests of their members. In varying ways, members volunteer their time to the Kenmore-Bellbowrie men's shed to support their operations. Without their hard work and effort the group would not be the success it is today.

During my visit I presented Mr Grahame Browne and Mr Graham Barnard with Ryan community service awards for their selfless dedication to the shed and their fellow members. To these gentlemen and their colleagues the men's shed is more than just woodwork. It represents a place of welcome with old friends and provides an escape from the sometime monotony of their daily lives. One member went as far as to say that the men's shed clears his mind, giving him something to look forward to each week. If he were not a member of the men's shed, he would be burdened with the black dog of depression, which would inhibit his quality of life.

We often forget that those who have retired from the workforce still have a lot to contribute and require stimulus and motivation in their lives. Some people might just want to give back to their community and some might just want to enjoy a coffee with friends. Either way, men's sheds have something to offer every member. Becoming a member provides a safe environment supported by men from all walks of life. Good health promoted by the organisation encourages men to feel good about themselves, be productive, contribute to the community, connect with friends and maintain an active body and mind. Whether it is refurbishing pews for local churches or making and refurbishing school desks, men's sheds do make a significant contribution to the wider community.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Buchholz ): The time for members' constituency statements has now concluded.