Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan) (17:08): My adjournment matter is directed to the Honourable Luke Donnellan, the Minister for Child Protection and Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers. This adjournment matter relates to the portfolio responsibilities of disability, ageing and carers. The Andrews Labor government is strengthening men’s wellbeing and community connections across Victoria with further funding to establish, expand or improve men’s sheds.
Men’s sheds play an important role in society by providing safe and productive meeting places where men can get together, find social support and camaraderie, work on common projects and give back to their community. The Andrews Labor government’s support for men’s sheds programs in 2020 helped men’s sheds across the state with urgent expenses to not only enable them to operate in a COVID-safe manner but also bounce back following the easing of coronavirus restrictions.
Applications are now open for the 2021–22 men’s sheds grants. Nearly $900 000 will be available through this latest round of the men’s sheds grants program. Men’s shed groups can apply for a grant of up to $80 000 for the construction of a new men’s shed or the extension or refurbishment of an existing shed. The Andrews Labor government provides $1 million to support men’s sheds each year, which includes $120 000 to the Victorian Men’s Shed Association. There are currently more than 360 communities with men’s sheds throughout Victoria.
The action I seek from the minister is to provide me with an update on how the government is promoting this important grant to men’s sheds and community groups in my electorate of Western Metropolitan Region. Men’s sheds play an important role in the prevention of social isolation by providing a safe, friendly and welcoming place for men to work on meaningful projects and to contribute to the wider community.
Mr DONNELLAN (Narre Warren North—Minister for Child Protection, Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers) (4 May 2021):
The Andrews Labor Government proudly supports men’s sheds because we understand the positive effects they have on the physical and mental wellbeing of men, not to mention the significant positive flow-on effects for local communities that host sheds.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, last year the Andrews Labor Government provided support grants to 277 men’s sheds to assist with urgent operational expenses and enable sheds to reopen in line with public health directions.
With this support, the Andrews Labor Government has directly supported 400 men’s sheds since 2015.
On 21 April 2021 announced the opening of a new round of men’s shed funding, allocating nearly $900,000 in grants of up to $80,000 each, for the construction of new men’s sheds or the refurbishment of existing men’s sheds. Applications are open now for these grants through the department’s website and close on 30 June 2021.
It was great to open this round of grants and see men’s sheds across Victoria return to something close to normal operations. This means men are getting back to our wonderful sheds and people can get back to their plans to either expand a shed or start a new one.
The Victorian Government is working with the Victorian Men’s Sheds Association (VMSA) to spread the word of the 2021–22 grant program, including in the Member’s electorate of Western Metropolitan. The VMSA is a wonderful resource and can provide advice to people wanting to expand or start their own local shed.
More information can about the grants can be found on the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing website at https://providers.dffh.vic.gov.au/mens-shed-program.
I thank the Honourable Member for the question and trust that this information is helpful.