Gunner a no-show at young Round Table presentation


p2379-round-tableBy ERWIN CHLANDA
“Stand up, speak out” is the motto of the Chief Minister’s Round Table of Young Territorians.
They are now applying their slogan to the man they are pledged to advise on youth issues: Michael Gunner.
The 16 young people gathered in Parliament House on Sunday to present to him a report of their year’s work.
The Chief Minister was a no-show, but  a government spokesman says three senior ministers attended.
Mr Gunner was at the opening of the “recently completed expansion of Humpty Doo Barramundi Farm,” according to a government media release.
“Fish are more important than young people of the Territory,” says Cindy Uzzell, the only Alice Springs member of the Round Table, pointing to Mr Gunner’s election pledge that “Labor will put children at the centre of government”.
Minister for Primary Industry and Resources, Ken Vowles, was also at the fish function, so why Mr Gunner was needed as well is not clear.
Ms Uzzell (kneeling at centre front in the photo above of the Round Table members) says the group had been looking forward to the presentation on mental health, youth services in Tennant Creek, financial literacy, housing for homeless and the youth diversion hospitality paradigm in East Arnhem.
Ms Uzzell says the Round Table is a direct communication avenue between young Territorians and the NT Government. Its members are aged 15 to 25 years, and are representatives of the geographic, cultural and ethnic diversity in the NT.
About half the members are from the Darwin – Palmerston area.
Says Ms Uzzell: “We have four meetings in Darwin each year, and one teleconference before each meeting.
“From the first meeting we form focus groups about community issues we are passionate about.”
Other Ministers and departmental staff attended the presentation but “the Chief did not show”.
The government spokesman says senior Ministers Eva Lawler, Lauren Moss and Gerry McCarthy attended the presentation, as well as an assistant minister.
“We value the ideas of young Territorians and will continue to work with our up and coming leaders of our communities,” the spokesman says.
UPDATE 4:15pm
Mr Gunner says children were at the core of the agenda at his first Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting today.
He says he is using the opportunity to put issues significant to the NT on the national agenda. Early intervention was a major theme during discussions, which also included youth justice, indigenous disadvantage, housing and homelessness.
“The core of today’s agenda was children – ensuring they live in appropriate housing, receive a quality education, have access to healthcare and grow up in a safe environment,” Mr Gunner says.
“The Northern Territory has important challenges in all of these areas and I’m pleased COAG helped place them on the national agenda.”


  1. Stay cool for a bit everyone, they just have to sort out the mob up north first, where the majority rules. No action by March – then we start rattling boomerangs.

  2. Imagine, if you will, a family that acquired a property in the rural area somewhere near Alice Springs almost a quarter century ago with a vision to create a new industry. They had little in the way of knowledge and resources about what they wanted to do but soon managed to produce six kilograms of premium product per week to sell to the local market.
    Over time this business has grown so that it now produces 1700 tonnes of premium product per year which is sold in markets around Australia, has 40 local employees and a revenue of $16m annually.
    But now the property is about to double in size and from next year will increase production of its premium product to 50 tonnes per week. The plans are to produce 10,000 tonnes of product per year valued at over $100m sold nationally and overseas (especially China), with its workforce increased to 100 local employees.
    If that happened in Central Australia we’d be singing their praises to the ends of the earth; however, I’m briefly describing the story of the Humpty Doo Barramundi Farm (, an extraordinary enterprise in the Top End said to be the largest of its kind in Australia; but disparagingly called a “fish farm” in this article and reveals a churlish attitude that does us in the Centre no credit at all.
    I think it’s entirely appropriate for Chief Minister Michael Gunner to attend the official launch of the expansion of this marvellous enterprise – and there’s no question a CLP leader would do the same.
    As reported elsewhere, the expansion of the Humpty Doo Barramundi Farm “is a positive economic story during a time of economic uncertainty”. I suspect that occasions to attend other launches of enterprises expanding after years of establishment and growth will be infrequent over the next few years.
    It’s unfortunate that the CM didn’t attend the meeting of the Round Table of Young Territorians (which, if I recall correctly, was an initiative of former CM Shane Stone) but with three ministers and an assistant minister in attendance (not the least being Lauren Moss, the youngest MLA who has experienced a meteoric rise to ministerial prominence since her by-election victory in 2014 and surely must be an inspiration for young people), it’s difficult to accept that the delegates of the Round Table have been hard done by the government.
    I think the criticism directed towards Michael Gunner in this instance is unwarranted and smacks a little of petulance.

  3. Typical politician, or what are we to think?
    Not a great look there, Mr, Gunner.
    Youth are the future of our country, respect would have been nice by showing up!
    Good on the group though! Don’t let them get to you, and eep up the great work!

  4. Brilliant how Alex can put a lot of issues, like this one, into a realistic balanced perspective. Thanks Alex for your continuing contributions to this publication.


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