Ms MIKAKOS (Minister for Families and Children) (12:43:19) — I rise to update the house on how the Andrews Labor government is creating more positive, safe and practical spaces for men to work together and contribute to their local community. Men’s sheds are an important way for men to build new friendships and skills and to participate in exciting new activities, and the Andrews Labor government is proud to back them.
Recently I visited the Linton and District Men’s Shed with the Assembly member for Buninyong, Geoff Howard, and the Labor candidate for Buninyong, Michaela Settle, to announce it had been successful in applying for a men’s shed grant of $60 000 from the Andrews Labor government to move from its current site — a private twin garage — to a new site where a brand-new, purpose-built facility will be constructed. This is one of 29 sheds to share in a $903 000 2018–19 men’s shed funding round. The Linton shedders plan to build a community garden alongside their shed, which will provide food for the Linton community kitchen and a gathering place for local people to come together and promote healthy interaction. This is just another terrific example of the positive role that local men’s sheds play in communities right across Victoria.
The Linton and District Men’s Shed is one of nine brand-new sheds being constructed across the state through this latest funding round, along with sheds in Rutherglen, Rowville, Penshurst, Trentham, Leongatha, Mount Martha, Mildura and Heathcote. A further 20 sheds have received funding for refurbishment or extension work — sheds like the Pines Men’s Shed in Frankston, which I travelled to the following day and where I met up with the hardworking local Assembly member, Paul Edbrooke, to announce that their shed would receive $30 000 to install heating, cooling and insulation, which will make a big difference on those freezing cold winter days and summer scorchers.
I am pleased that the Pines Men’s Shed was actually the 99th men’s shed to receive funding from our government. Over the last four years we have provided almost $4 million in grants to help construct 38 new men’s sheds and refurbish or extend 61 existing sheds right across Victoria. We have also strengthened our support for the Victorian Men’s Shed Association, providing a record $725 000 over the last four years to support their work. I take this opportunity to thank them for the incredible work they do in supporting more than 360 men’s sheds across Victoria. The Andrews Labor government is proud to support men’s sheds. We understand that they are more than just buildings; they are enablers of stronger and more resilient communities.