This all comes back to the question “which organisations can claim at State and Federal level to represent their Sheds.”

This is the most important question when seeking funding from State Government Departments and sponsors. We contend that State associations are those organisation and that AMSA should only claim to represent the States at Federal level.

Until this question is settled there will be no united Federal organisation.

Do you want a strong State association and a small national body?

Or do you want AMSA only?

Most will know there has been a long dispute between the national AMSA and the State Associations. The states felt that AMSA was not including them in decisions. TMSA, VMSA and QMSA resigned from AMSA, WA was expelled.

The four states met in September 2017 and decided to form a new national body that would be owned by and respect the rights of the State Associations. Its role would be to support the States and represent them nationally.

AMSA went on to change its constitution to make all Sheds direct members, run nationally from Newcastle.

The comparison is stark: Sheds dealing with a State association or Sheds getting directions from Newcastle. Which organisations can best represent the Sheds in each State?

In WA we surveyed our members and found well over 90% support for a state body.

So the path was clear: form a new association. The four states met again. And talked. And talked. And not much else.

Mensheds Australia Ltd (MSA), a one-time competitor to AMSA had faded away to just a handful of people, let it be known that they would be open to a friendly take-over.

After some more time in which nothing happened, three individuals from WA (with the permission of MSWA) took on the task of repurposing MSA. They went through months of negotiation, due diligence etc including developing a new constitution. They took over as interim directors when the original directors resigned.

With a new constitution, new directors and a clean bill of financial health (endorsed by a former Victorian Auditor General), on 23rd of October 2018 an invitation was sent to VMSA, TMSA, MSWA and the new QRMN to join (and own) MSA.

Tasmania, WA and Queensland accepted and took up board positions. The invitation to Victoria is still open.

We are now in a position to invite associations from NSW and SA together with a director from A.C.T. and N.T. combined to join us.

I urge you to make a decision on this and join TMSA, MSWA and QRMN. We don’t want to be run from Newcastle. We want strong State Associations that know their own state best and can deliver for their people (including negotiating with their state governments). We want a national body that is owned by the States, that serves them – not tells them what to do.

We believe that funding needs to get to the grass roots where it will yield a better return.

MSA is about to review its initial constitution. This will be done by the members, not outsiders. We would welcome other State associations at the table.

Please treat this as a matter of urgency. If your answer is no, that’s fine but please make sure you are doing what is best for the Men’s Shed movement in Australia.

Trevor Taylor – President.