Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

National Youth Roundtable 2003 Members

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, today announced the 50 young Australians chosen to be members of the fifth National Youth Roundtable.

“This year there were 787 applications, a 20 per cent increase on last year, demonstrating the firm interest young people have in participating in this important forum.

“The membership reflects a wide cross section of young people from all around Australia. This year we have a mine worker from Burketown, two young Palawa (indigenous Tasmanian) members and a young footballer who became quadriplegic but is determined to keep playing his sport.

“Members will prepare for their first formal meeting with the Government with an intensive three day workshop in Wagga Wagga. They will receive training and guidance on dealing with media inquiries and how to present and argue their case.

“They will also build teams based on the issues they have brought for discussion. Those teams will be based around the issues of youth homelessness, living in foster care, young people who are carers, hardships faced by regional and rural youth, developing local community solutions to local problems and opportunities for enterprise development by young people.

“They will then come together for their first formal meeting in Canberra in March.

“Once again, I am greatly impressed with the ideas brought forward by young Australians. The fresh and innovative ideas of Australia’s youth are pointers to our nation’s future and the Coalition Government is keen to see the results of the deeper exploration of the issues that the Roundtable process provides.

“The Roundtable is also a crucial tool for developing the skills of the young leaders in our community. Many of these young people will take away what they have learned and apply it in their local communities,” Mr Anthony said.

The National Youth Roundtable was established by the Coalition Government in 1999 to give Australians aged from 15 to 24 years the chance to speak up and be a part of the policy-making process.

Biographies of the Roundtable 2003 members


Emma Barritt
Lyndoch, SA
Emma is a 21-year-old student at Flinders University. She has completed Honours in Social Work and is now studying for a PhD in History. In 2002, she acted as a Respite Volunteer with Red Cross and in 2001, worked as a Community Support Worker for Elizabeth Family and Youth Services, both in a volunteer and professional capacity. Having grown up on a large sheep grazing property in the Barossa Valley Ranges, Emma is primarily concerned with understanding the barriers facing rural youth in accessing opportunities and resources that are more readily availably to non-rural Australians.

Shay Nichols
Lyndoch, SA
Shay, 20, sits on a student network board in her community and participates in a range of community activities and programs. Shay grew up in rural Australia (the Barossa Valley) and became a mother at the age of 18. From these experiences, Shay has developed an interest in the availability of support services for young parents. It was this interest that prompted her to become involved with Shine SA (Sexual Health, Information, Networking and Education) as a Youth Advisory Team member.

Nick Palousis
North Adelaide, SA
Nick is a 22-year-old student at the University of Adelaide, where he is undertaking a Mechatronic Engineering/Mathematical and Computer Science degree. Last year, Nick was one of twelve young Australians selected to participate in the 15th Ship for World Youth Program. Also in 2002, Nick was selected as a member of the Youth Challenge Australia volunteer team to Costa Rica. Nick’s key interests include youth leadership and social and environmental sustainability.

Annette Wheare
Port Pirie, SA
Annette Wheare, 22, is a full-time Development Officer with the Port Pirie Regional Development Board. Annette holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Business Degree, a Certificate 3 in applied languages (Japanese), a South Australian Certificate of Education and is completing a Certificate 4 in Business Facilitation. In 2002, Annette received the Rotary International ‘Rotary Youth Leadership Award’, after completing, the Rotary Youth Leadership program. Annette is interested in expanding youth leadership and youth enterprise development opportunities for young people.

Corey Pearson
Flagstaff Hill, SA
Corey, 24, is a member of the Sturt Community Programs Unit of the South Australian Police. During his two years with the unit, Corey has been a board member of the Hallet Youth Project, acted as a Blue Light Camp supervisor, and worked with ‘at risk’ children in the Living Skills program. As a youth officer with the SA Police, he has participated in a number of school programs designed to enhance police/youth relationships. Corey was recently a finalist in the ‘SA Great’ South Australian Youth Ambassador Program and was awarded a Rotary Youth Leadership Award. Corey is interested in comparing the SA Juvenile Justice System against other state and territory systems.

James Stanley
Stirling North, SA
James is a 16-year-old Indigenous student at Caritas College. James has a strong interest in the arts, and was a founding member of ‘Witchetty Bubs’, a local children’s performance group that performed throughout Port Augusta. In 2002, James was awarded the NAIDOC ‘Indigenous Youth of the Year’ Award for his contributions to his community. More recently, James was selected to participate in the National Aboriginal Summer School for excellence in technology and science. James is interested in promoting awareness about Indigenous issues among the non-Indigenous community.


Mimi Zou
Campsie, NSW
Mimi, 17, has been involved with a number of community organisations, is the current chairperson of Canterbury Youth Council and was elected the Student Welfare Captain for her school. It is through her work with the Youth Council that Mimi has recognised the importance of expanding leadership opportunities for young people from a range of backgrounds. In appreciation of her extensive involvement in the community, Mimi received an International Year of the Volunteer Award of Recognition from the Prime Minister.

Jayde Kelly
West Kemspey, NSW
Jayde, 20, is a young Indigenous woman interested in Aboriginal Mentorship programs and improving services to the Aboriginal community and young people. Active in her community, Jayde is involved with a number of sporting organisations and has been associated with a juvenile justice committee. In 2000, Jayde received an Aboriginal Achievement Award from the Kempsey NAIDOC week committee.

Kellie Hutchinson
Tenambit, NSW
23-year-old Kellie works as a youth support worker for Hunter Support, is the coordinator of RUSH a charity organisation and is studying psychology at the University of Newcastle. She volunteers at Camp Quality, Lifeline and with abused children. She is interested in finding better ways for youth service providers to engage young people, particularly those who are marginalised or disadvantaged.

Jonathan Wang
Blacktown, NSW
Jonathan, 20, is studying commerce and science at the University of NSW. Jonathan is keen to look at supporting transitions to independence, having lived independently for some years while his parents are working overseas. Actively involved at university and within his community, Jonathan is a member of the Blacktown City Council Sister City Committee and the Peer Assistance Support Scheme at his university. Jonathan was selected to represent his university at the China Synergy Programme for Outstanding Youth in 2002.

Josh Moyes
Byron Bay, NSW
Josh, 18, completed his HSC at Mullumbimby High in 2002. Josh has personal experience of homelessness in a regional area. Despite the considerable hardship of living independently, Josh has volunteered a large part of his time to a number of community events – working voluntarily at a retirement village, at the local radio station and assisting with drama workshops. He has been involved in focus groups and community forums regarding youth homelessness and believes he would be able to bring a ‘grass roots’ perspective to the Roundtable.

Simon Khalil
Petersham, NSW
Simon, 17, has been an active participant in a number of youth forums convened by the Marrickville Council. He also acted in the short film I Miss Marrickville, which won the state-wide Silent Cells Award during National Youth Week 2002. Simon has experienced foster care arrangements, and would like to increase awareness and understanding of issues for young people in this situation.

Rachel Hillman
Collaroy, NSW
19-year-old Rachel, who is employed full-time as an administration assistant, is interested in drug abuse prevention and treatment and supporting transitions to independence. Having overcome addiction and participated in Youth Off the Streets long-term residential programs, Rachel would like to see more programs helping young people make the transition to independence from residential care. Rachel has assisted in drug awareness programs, has been involved with a number of youth leadership programs and represented Youth Off the Streets at a Youth Conference in the USA.

Tegan Cohen
Corowa, NSW
16-year-old Tegan attends Borowa High School, where she is involved in the Peer Support and Mediation program. Actively involved in her local community, Tegan is a member of the Corowa Youth Council. She was one of 48 young Australians selected to participate in the Rotary Adventure in Citizenship program, held in Canberra. Particularly interested in issues affecting rural young people, Tegan is keen to address health issues and feels there is a need to increase education and recreation facilities in these areas.

Adam Marshall
Gunnedah, NSW
18-year-old Adam completed his HSC at the Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School in 2002. He is interested in health issues for rural young people, with a particular focus on mental health issues facing farming youth. National runner up in the Lions Australian Youth of the Year, Adam has been very active within both his local community and throughout NSW. He has been involved in a number of fundraising activities, has been a member of the Gunnedah Shire Council Youth Council and the Gunnedah PCYC Youth Committee for the past two years. He was also a member of the NSW Premier’s Youth Advisory Council in 2001.

Shasheen Jayaweera
West Pennant Hills, NSW
17-year-old Shasheen finished Year 12 at Baulkham Hills High School last year. He is passionate about youth enterprise development and has been involved with Australian Business Week Alumni and the Young Achievers Business Skills program. Shasheen has also started his own internet services business, called ‘Logicworks’.

Zhi Soon
Revesby, NSW
17-year-old Zhi is a student at Hurlstone Agricultural School where he has been a Peer Support Program Instructor, a member of the SRC and the president of the Interact Club. He is the current president of the Liverpool District SRC and has been involved in a number of fundraising activities. Zhi is interested in opening communication lines between youth organisations and various forms of governance; promoting racial harmony among young people; and examining the availability of youth development opportunities.

Ainsley Gilkes
Cherrybrook, NSW
Ainsley, 21, works full-time as a director/brand manager for Youth 2 Youth which provides learning and connection opportunities for young people. She has been a finalist several times in the Excellence in Youth Awards and is a member of a number of community organizations, including the Youth Action and Policy Association (YAPA). Last year, Ainsley was selected as a delegate to the APEC Young Leaders and Entrepreneurs Forum in Mexico. Ainsley is aware of the many challenges faced by young leaders and young entrepreneurs and is passionate about addressing their needs.

William Scully-Power
Sydney, NSW
William, 22, started his first business when he was 18 years old. Since then he has started three more companies that trade nationally and internationally. A member of a number of organisations, William founded the Australian chapter of the Association of International Business. He was a semi-finalist in the National Career Achievement Category in the Young Australian of the Year Awards in 2001 and was a nominee again last year. William is interested in youth enterprise development opportunities and young people in the business community.

Kat Clay
Werrington County, NSW
Studying Media Arts and Production and International Studies at the University of Technology Sydney, 18-year-old Kat is interested in youth development activities and would like to see media programs developed for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Kat has also identified a need for greater educational opportunities for young people in outer-suburban and rural areas. She has been involved in a range of activities in the community, including volunteer work, debating and Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and is a champion fencer.


Jordina Rust
Balwyn, VIC
15-year-old Jordina attends Methodist Ladies College where she has been an active member of the SRC. A volunteer for a number of charities, she has also been involved with youth programs such as Reach Youth Victoria and the Boroodara Young Leader Program. Jordina wants to examine the rights of children in relation to the Family Court during her time as a member of the Roundtable.

Meredith Ellis
Altona, VIC
17-year-old Meredith attends Westbourne Grammar School. Both Meredith and her twin sister have cerebral palsy and Meredith is interested in the challenges which face a family with dependents. Meredith also wants to look at transitions to independence and how these can be more adequately handled for young people in her situation. She is active in the Cerebral Palsy Support Network and has spoken at a number of functions to raise awareness.

Alice Barnes
Ballarat, VIC
Alice, 19, finished Year 12 at Ballarat Secondary College last year. A member of both the Ballarat City Youth Council and the Ballarat FREEZA Group, Alice has also been a co-ordinator at the STUFFEST Youth Forum and the Youth Week Express Yourself Forum and a participant in the Reversing the Drift Youth Summit. Alice believes that having a positive youth voice is particularly important in regional areas and is interested in expanding youth leadership and youth development activities.

Mary Nasser
Rowville, VIC
Homeless at the age of 16, and having spent two years in foster care, Mary, now 18, is interested in how young people cope with early independence and how it affects their education and health. Mary has been accepted into the Lead Tenant Program with the Regional Youth Accommodation Program and volunteers her time with homeless young women. She is also member of several church and community groups.

Keyur Kelkar
Box Hill North, VIC
Keyur, 17, is a student at Melbourne High School. Keyur has run forums as part of his local Youth Rep Committee and helps edit his community Neighbourhood Watch newsletter. He has operated a small computer program business with a group of friends for two years and is interested in youth enterprise development and expanding youth leadership.

Andrew Higgs
Fitzroy, VIC
Andrew, 20, was one of the twelve Aussie delegates on the Ship for World Youth Program. He was a community ambassador for Victoria Youth Week and was a member of the YMCA Centenary of Federation Youth Parliament. As an executive on his local youth committee, he is interested in a number of concerns for young people, health and housing in particular. He has received recognition for his volunteer work with a number of organisations including UNICEF and Rotary International.

Janine Borg
Cowes, VIC
Janine, 22, works full-time in the Youth Suicide Prevention area of Kilmany Family Care and is a member of the High Risk Adolescent Reference Group, FreeZA, and the South Gippsland/Bass Coast Youth Network. She is interested in young Australians and their health needs with a particular focus on mental health promotion, and suicide prevention and intervention. Janine would also like to see more support for young mothers to ensure greater access to professional health advice and support networks.

Caroline Riseley
Golden Square, VIC
Caroline, 17, attends Bendigo Senior Secondary College. She is an active fundraiser and is involved with a number of organizations. Caroline also writes articles for the youth supplement of the Bendigo Advertiser, ‘Loop’. She has experienced accommodation issues and now lives with her foster family. Caroline is interested in social equality and humanitarian issues with a focus on the homelessness.

Michael Apout
Werribee, VIC
Michael, 21, is studying law. A refugee from Sudan, Michael had to seek accommodation through youth housing organizations, which has made him keen to look at this issue on the Roundtable. Since settling in Melbourne, Michael has contributed significantly to the needs of Sudanese youth in the western suburbs as a founding member of the New Sudan Youth Association of Australia and was a representative at the Victorian Multicultural Youth Roundtable.


Jenelle Jennings
New Town, TAS
Janelle is a 15-year-old Palawa student at Elizabeth College. Janelle contributes greatly to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre by participating in activities and events run by the organisation. Janelle is also very active in her broader community. She has participated in events such as the Putalina (Oyster Cove) Festival, cultural camps, youth activity programs, NAIDOC events and occupation of land events. Janelle is interested in youth health and youth justice.

John Maynard
Claremont, TAS
John, 16, is a Palawa student at Claremont College. In 2002, John worked with Elders and Indigenous students at Aboriginal Community Connections and undertook work experience with the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre. John, through experience, has developed views on Aboriginal and foster care issues, which he hopes to expand upon through his experiences with the Roundtable.

Anamika Sharma
Moonah, TAS
Anamika is a 23-year-old student at the University of Tasmania, where she is studying medicine. Anamika is a member of the Multicultural Council of Tasmania, and is familiar with migrant and youth issues. She has helped to care for children who are neglected by their young parents and hopes to draw upon these experiences at the Roundtable. She intends to investigate issues surrounding young Australians and their health, as well as issues of youth homelessness and child-abuse.


Tonya Booth
Burketown, QLD
Tonya is a 20 year-old Indigenous student of Horticulture from Burketown on the Gulf of Carpentaria. She also works for Pasminco’s Century Mine and has first-hand knowledge of this successful partnership between the mine and Native Title claimants. She has been extremely active in developing and promoting youth activities in the region and their value in assisting young people in remote communities.

Lachlan Cameron
Dalveen, QLD
Lachlan, at 17, has for the last two years been a Young Ambassador for Warwick Shire Council. He attends Scots College, and, living on a farm, has a strong interest in the problems facing young people in rural areas. Lachlan believes strongly in the value of forums such as the Roundtable for enabling young people to learn how to contribute to their communities.

Alice Chang
Douglas, QLD
A long interest in health issues for young people has seen her working as a volunteer for the Townsville Aboriginal Health Service, the Queensland Drug Summit, for the Red Cross at Princess Alexander Hospital and as a Community Sexual Health Educator for Queensland Health.

James Austin
Cairns, QLD
James, 17, is studying at James Cook University. He has won awards for his work in business and technology and has started his own Internet development business. James’ work for the Cairns City Council on a city Internet guide and a suicide prevention website have convinced him that the business community can play a greater role in youth development and services, both in and out of educational institutions.

Cassie Skelly
Morayfield, QLD
Cassie, 24 has completed her Bachelor of Social Science, specialising in services for young people. On a field placement in New Zealand she developed a youth protocol for a shopping centre to assist with local youth issues, which she has been invited back to evaluate. She is keen to explore working on community development frameworks for young people.

Matthew Eckford
Loganholme, QLD
Matthew, 23, runs his own business, called Rural Industry Connect, which is a market exchange network enabling rural and regional businesses to share information and to source sale stock items. He was awarded the Commonwealth Regional Initiative Award 2002 and the 2002 Telstra Countrywide Rural Young Achiever of the Year. Matthew has a strong interest in the development of future rural leaders.

Birra Riethmuller
Toowoomba, QLD
17-year-old Birra was Darling Downs Young Achiever of the Year in 2001 and was a Centenary of Federation Youth Envoy and Toowoomba City Council Youth Councillor. Studying events management at Noarlunga TAFE, she is especially concerned with youth mental health issues. Birra is one of the founders of a youth information website.

Rebecca Pole
Robina, QLD
19 year-old Rebecca was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Scholarship to Bond University to study business and communications. She has since been appointed as student co-ordinator for the scholarship scheme and as a mentor for new students in that faculty. Having overcome an eating disorder during her transition to independence, Rebecca is keen to share her experience in the area of young people’s health, and of the benefits of involvement in youth leadership programs.


Peter Darch
Mandurah, WA
17-year-old Peter was a keen sportsman, umpire and coach until he suffered an accident in January 2002 that left him quadriplegic. With help from his local community he is working towards new goals, such as starting a combined disabled and able-bodied football team. Peter has found that many disabled people find it difficult to have their views heard and is keen to pursue this during his time on the Roundtable.

Kate Layman
Crawley, WA
Kate, 18, is studying law and commerce at the University of Western Australia. She believes that much more can be done to assist young people in rural communities making the difficult transition to tertiary study in the city. Kate has received much recognition for her work in the community including the 2002 Lions Club WA Youth of the Year.

Ben Whitehouse
South Perth, WA
21-year-old Ben is studying for a degree in social work at Curtin University. He has been involved in charity work for many years, including for the Sisters of Mercy Soup Kitchen. He journeyed to India to work in poor houses and missions in Calcutta and Mumbai and found that this experience changed his outlook on life. Having overcome a subsequent period of serious depression, Ben found that problems among disadvantaged young people in his local community are also severe and he is determined to work to improve the situation.

An Vo
Parkwood, WA
An, 24, is a prominent young leader in the Vietnamese community in WA, and has degrees in economics and law. Through his ongoing volunteer work as a tutor, he has identified a worsening trend in cultural conflict between the migrant generation of Vietnamese and their Australian-born children. An is interested in exploring this conflict this year on the Roundtable.

Naomi Godden
Margaret River, WA
Naomi, 18, completed Year 12 last year and was awarded the inaugural Augusta-Margaret River Shire Student Bursary and is now working to review and develop the Shire’s community programs for young people. Having been a member of the Shire’s Youth Advisory Committee for three years and a participant in many community activities and forums, Naomi is concerned about the difficulties and lack of opportunities faced by rural youth.

Rebecca Flood
Marangaroo, WA
Rebecca is a young single mother and at 23, she has overcome many personal difficulties to establish a career in social work. Now that her daughter is in school, she is working for a youth crisis accommodation centre and completing her degree part-time at Edith Cowan University. Rebecca is keen to share her first-hand experience of working with homeless youth.

Daniel Hunt
Westminster, WA
Daniel is a 19-year-old from a remote Indigenous community. He has seen the effects of diabetes and renal failure on his family and community; and this has led to him studying at the University of Western Australia with a view to a career in medicine. He is also a volunteer for Djooraminda, a respite program for young Indigenous children in foster care, and is an organiser with the Western Australia Student Aboriginal Corporation.


Kathleen McCoy
Acton, ACT
Kathleen McCoy is a 19-year-old student at the Australian National University, where she is undertaking a combined Arts/law degree. Kathleen is originally from Walcha, a regional town located in the Northern Tablelands of NSW. Kathleen was awarded the Walcha Young Citizen of the Year Award in 2001 for her contribution to the life of the Walcha community. In 2001, Kathleen took part in the Rotary Youth Exchange Program as a Youth Ambassador in France. Kathleen is interested in looking at education in rural and regional areas.


Jessica Mouthaan
Casuarina, NT
At 23, Jessica is a full-time Youth and Education Services Officer for the Australian Red Cross in Darwin. Assisting in the co-ordination of a range of youth services, including the SHAK youth drop-in centre, has given her an insight into the challenges faced by young people in the Northern Territory. As the carer for her older sister, Jessica is committed to living in the
Territory and further building local networks.

Anthony Ormond
Alice Springs, NT
Anthony, 16, is an Indigenous student at Alice Springs High School, where he has been a member of its Student Council for four years, and the school facilitator for the Kids Help Line. In 2002, he was invited to become a member of the Chief Minister’s Roundtable for Young Territorians.