Whittlesea Men’s Shed members Peter Foster, Colin Grundwell and Bill Tracey with Member for McEwen Rob Mitchell.

MEMBER for McEwen Rob Mitchell visited Whittlesea Men’s Shed as part of the Prostate Cancer Foundation’s Big Aussie Barbie awareness campaign.

Mr Mitchell and men’s shed members sat down to eat some sausages for lunch and discussed men’s health and the importance of prostate checks. Prostate cancer is the deadliest cancer in men, killing more than 3000 Australians every year.

Mr Mitchell said the barbecue tied in well with the men’s shed’s goal of promoting mental health in men.

“They play such an important part in raising awareness in mental health in men, so it was a really good fit,” he said.

“It gave us a chance to talk to men about physical and mental health, risk factors like age, diet and lifestyle, and talk about the importance of getting checked and reasons for getting checked.

“It’s not just about you, it’s about the people you live with and live around.

“For me, when I look at these things, it’s about my children and my grandchildren and wanting to be around for as long as I can.”

Whittlesea Men’s Shed president Phil Berchdolt said while members were aware of the risks of prostate cancer, it was nice to be reminded.

“Some of us have already had it and had it removed. It’s that sort of age where people are well aware of it,” he said.

“We do talk a lot about it, but this just keeps it in your mind.”

The event was also Mr Mitchell’s first appearance in his role as co-chair of the newly formed non-partisan Parliamentary Friends of Men’s Sheds group.

In only the first two weeks, close to 60 MPs and Senators from across the country volunteered to join the group.

Mr Mitchell said the new group served as a way to bring both sides of politics together to lobby government on behalf of men’s sheds.

“It’s chaired by a Liberal MP and co-chaired by a non-government MP and we work to raise awareness of men’s sheds and build more on the importance of them, more so in the mental and physical health spaces, but also as a way to connect men who have withdrawn from society because of a range of issues,” he said.

“I genuinely feel honoured to be given the opportunity to support and co-chair the Parliamentary Friends of Men’s Sheds.”