ON the eve of the Federal Election, Hasluck MP Ken Wyatt has been left red-faced after it emerged hundreds of thousands of dollars in funding he pledged to a men’s shed is redundant.
During the campaign, the Aged Care Minister promoted funding commitments to a number of men’s sheds in his electorate, including $350,000 to upgrade the Kalamunda Men’s Shed.
However, a letter obtained by Community News, from the Kalamunda Men’s Shed committee to its members, reveals that the funding promised for the Kalamunda shed has already been secured from other sources.
“He (Mr Wyatt) was approached very early in our fundraising to seek support,” the letter said.
“He offered to try to obtain the full amount from the Federal Government.
“This was unsuccessful, and we received nothing from this venture.
“Subsequently he, along with all other local politicians, provided a letter of support in our approach to Lotterywest.
“Lotterywest, however, fully discounted all politically-based support letters and advised us not to include them in our submission.
“We were ultimately successful, through our own efforts, in obtaining $298,000 from Lotterywest.”
The Kalamunda Men’s Shed also received grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs ($29,000) and Rotary ($30,000).
Mr Wyatt said he was not aware of other sources that the group were seeking funding from.
“I committed funding on the basis of my understanding of their need to help with their expansion and the merit of their proposal,” he said.
“Given they have received the funding, we will be able to redirect the commitment elsewhere.”
Mr Wyatt has also committed $900,000 to construct a new Mundaring Men’s Shed facility and $90,000 towards a Maddington Community Men’s Shed.
Earlier this month Mr Wyatt announced the funding for renovations and improvements to the Maddington shed.
However, an hour after Community News queried the election commitment to the shed, which is currently not operational, Mr Wyatt toured the premises and posted a video to say the funding was to “establish” the shed.
“What I am committing to is $90,000 to enable them to establish a men’s shed for men in Maddington,” he said.
“It is important that we give men, who in some instances live alone, an opportunity to engage and to be involved with others.
“So it is a great initiative.”
Lotterywest approved the Kalamunda Men’s Shed grant in December 2018 and presented the group with a cheque in February.
Mr Wyatt said he was not aware the Kalamunda Men’s Shed had secured funding from other sources until this week.
Mr Wyatt holds the seat of Hasluck by a margin of 2.2 per cent.