Media Release by The Hon John Cobb MP

Bringing youth issues to the table

The Minister for Community Services, John Cobb, today attended the final meeting of the 2005 National Youth Roundtable, to discuss cultural and linguistic diversity, the needs of young carers, mental health and other issues impacting Australian youth.

Mr Cobb said the Roundtable enables a direct dialogue between Australian Government Ministers and young people aged 15 to 24, allowing their views to be heard and considered in the policy making processes.

‘Since the Roundtable’s inception in 1999, 330 young people have had the opportunity to give direct input into the Government’s policy direction and decision-making processes on youth issues,’ Mr Cobb said.

‘Each year, a group of 30 young Australians come together to discuss current issues and develop practical solutions to problems faced by young people around the country.

‘Over the past 10 months, Roundtable members have worked diligently on their projects, in collaboration with their communities, members of Parliament and Government departments, developing skills and knowledge to take back to their own communities.

‘For example, the Young Carers initiative aims to raise awareness of current resources and assistance available to young people who live with or care for someone with a serious illness or disability.

‘The Roundtable members have also developed a 1800-two-way initiative, a free user-friendly voicemail service allowing homeless customers to contact Centrelink without having to find money or resources to visit a Centrelink office.

‘These 30 young Australians are making a real difference in their communities and I congratulate them for their hard work and dedication to this ongoing project.

‘The National Youth Roundtable is another example of the Australian Government’s commitment in developing Australia’s future generations,’ Mr Cobb said.

2005 – Members by State

New South Wales

Dane Garrood

Dane, 20, is studying Commerce and Business Law at the University of New South Wales. He will also be working at Telstra full time and studying part time as part of a scholarship through UNSW. He is interested in investigating inequalities between rural and metropolitan populations, educational disadvantages of country school students and youth alcohol and drug use. Dane was a member of the National Youth Roundtable 2004.

Tania Tu Phuong Huynh

Tania, 16, is currently studying year 11 at Hurlstone Agricultural High School. Tania is working part time as a piano teacher and is an active youth participating in her school, local and Vietnamese communities. She is the upcoming Vice President of Hurlstone’s Interact (Charity) Club, and was a finalist in Girlfriend Magazine’s Girlfriend of the Year Competition. Her interests in youth issues are youth suicide, pressure from family, peers, society, cultural (adapting to two different cultures) and youth involvement in politics, local community, entertainment and sport.

Sarah Joy

Sarah, 24, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) and Bachelor of Social Work (Hons). She was a Co-Chair of the National Rural Health Network and is currently working as a Social Worker on an early intervention mental health unit in Western Sydney. Sarah is interested in rural health, mental health and youth leadership./td>

Serena Kent

Serena, 19, is currently studying Youth Work at TAFE and is working part time as a Youth Support Officer with the Greater Hume and Lockhart Shire Councils. Serena is interested in young people living in rural areas being disadvantaged, driver safety, drug and alcohol issues and Local Government support for youth in rural areas.

Nichole Sullivan

Nichole, 24, has completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology at the University of Wollongong (UOW) and now is undertaking the prestigious honours program at UOW. This year she has gained employment with UOW as a researcher for both the faculty of education and psychology. As an executive member of a philanthropic organisation, Nichole has secured funding to commence building a 6.5 million dollar community and youth facility in her hometown of Ulladulla, in memory of her brother Danny, 19, who died in the Bali Bombings. Nichole was a member of the National Youth Roundtable 2004.

Sarsha Woolnough

Sarsha, 20, is currently working in the real estate industry with Century 21 as Marketing Manager, Accounts and Admin Coordinator. Sarsha is very interested in education and employment in rural towns, equality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and encouraging youth to be active.

Northern Territory

Duwayne Joshua Murrungun

Duwayne Joshua, 20 was a teacher in the local drug intervention program. He is passionate about music and his Yilila Band won a Telstra Art Award in 2004. Duwayne Joshua is interested in Indigenous issues including health, drug use, sport, recreation, cultural and leadership issues.

Western Australia

Danika Eades

Danika, 18, is doing a traineeship as a beauty therapist. Danika’s interest in youth issues include being an ambassador for Aboriginal and other young people ensuring they have role models and mentors to inspire and guide them, sport and recreation in rural and regional areas, entertainment and leadership in rural and regional areas.

Sarah Goodwin

Sarah, 23, is studying a Bachelor of Law/Psychology at Murdoch University. Sarah is interested in issues affecting young people including youth suicide, dating violence, family and domestic violence, and the overuse of drugs and alcohol by young people.

Mathew Lawton

Mathew, 16, is currently studying year 12 at Esperance Senior High School. Mathew currently runs his own Australian BMX company called ‘Tempered Bikes’. He is interested in youth recreation, youth spaces, youth services and what is available to young people living in isolated regional communities.


Jamie Byron

Jamie, 17, is in year 12 at Sunbury Downs College. He is a member of the Youth Advisory Committee in his Local Government Council. He is interested in youth leadership, youth suicide, mental health and giving rural youth opportunities employment and education.

Eve Campbell

Eve, 23, has recently started working for the Australian Red Cross Victoria as the International Humanitarian Law Training Coordinator. She is also a member of the Army Reserve. She is interested in education, homelessness and access to justice for young people.

Susan Harch

Susan, 21, is studying a Bachelor of Medicine/Surgery at Monash University. She is interested in public health, healthcare for Indigenous Australians, health promotion, empowerment of disadvantaged individuals, and healthcare access for rural, homeless and Australian youth.

Nosrat Hosseini

Nosrat, 19, is studying a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University. Her interest in youth issues include lack of confidence, lack of acceptance regarding identity and integration within society and equal access to opportunities, social education, family, social and cultural ties.

Violeta Matijevic

Violeta, 16, is currently studying Year 11 at St Francis Xavier College. She was selected as a participant in the Greater Dandenong Youth Participation and Leadership Program in 2004. Violeta’s interests in youth issues are comparing public and private education, public hospital waiting lists and youth involvement.

Simon Moss

Simon, 22, is studying at the University of Melbourne undertaking a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science. He coordinates the Oaktree Foundation’s social justice program, Oaktree Interactive, and is Online Events Coordinator at Vibewire Youth Services. He is interested in youth participation and social engagement, entrepreneurship and education of young people.

South Australia

Lauren Jew

Lauren, 18, is currently undertaking a Certificate in Youth Work Juvenile Justice. She completed work experience in the office of her Federal Member of Parliament and has started a traineeship at the office of her State Member of Parliament. Lauren was a member of the National Youth Roundtable 2004.

Anna Kroehn

Anna, 21, is working full time as a JPET Project Officer with the Service to Youth Council. Anna is interested in family breakdowns and youths leaving home early, the lack of alternative education options and pathways to employment, and the lack of resources and services for regional youth.

Ogy Simic

Ogy, 17, is in year 12 at University Senior College. He has been an active participant of the United Nations Youth Association (UNYA) of Australia and adynamic member of his local Youth Advisory Committee. He is interested in thecontribution of young people to the decision making process of government andissues that affect culturally and linguistically diverse young people.’

Kate Wheldrake

Kate, 18, is studying a Bachelor of Law/Arts at Flinders University. She is passionate and pro-active in environmental issues. Kate is interested in how we, as a nation can live more sustainably, ensuring all young people have a voice in government/community and education, helping and supporting young people living with cancer.

Gemmie Alliston

Gemmie, 20, is currently studying for a Double Degree in International Studies and Journalism at the University of South Australia. Gemmie is interested in fair representation of young people in the media, promoting and fostering a culturally and linguistically diverse Australia, mental health issues.


Ryan Barrett

Ryan, 23, is currently studying a Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of International Business at the Queensland University of Technology. He was a young police officer in the western suburbs. He is passionate about youth crime, crime prevention, suicide, youth affairs and post school options.

Brad Chapman

Brad, 22, is a high school dropout and a young entrepreneur who is a Managing Director of a mortgage brokering company. He also studies Theology at Charles Sturt University. He is passionate about promoting youth enterprise, financial literacy education and international development. Brad was a member of the National Youth Roundtable 2004.

Matthew Crossley

Matthew, 16 is currently undertaking year 12 at Proserpine State High School. He also works part-time as a farm hand. Matthew is also a member of the Whitsunday Youth Affairs Community. He is very interested in issues affecting young people in rural and regional areas and is passionate about the sugar industry.

Naomi Lim

Naomi, 17, is completing her final year in school. She is an active volunteer in her local community and is interested in drug and alcohol abuse of young people, addressing Indigenous Australian issues and tackling prejudice.

Jonathan Rofe

Jonathan, 21, is currently undertaking a double degree in Law and International Relations. He is interested in the impact of family break-ups on youth, the responsibilities of youth and attitudes towards mental health. Jonathan suffered major injuries from a life threatening-accident but has accomplished many things despite these obstacles.

Danielle Begg

Danielle, 21, completed a degree in Psychology and is a Research Assistant at the Queensland University of Technology. Danielle was the 2002 Young Queenslander of the Year and is a co-founder of the Australian Teens Advocating Change. Her interests include youth engagement, mental health, substance abuse, racism and safe driving for young people.

Australian Capital Territory

Alistair Coe

Alistair, 21, is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Commerce at the Australian National University and working part-time as a program coordinator at Young Achievement Australia. He is interested in youth unemployment, small business and education.

Aidan Devitt

Aidan, 20, is a Commerce student at the Australian National University. He is interested in the education of young Indigenous Australians, and improving dialogue between governments and young Australians. Aidan was also a member of the National Youth Roundtable 2004.