Sign In
Text Size a a a Print Print this page

HON Michelle ROBERTS BA DipEd MLA

Minister for Police; Road Safety

Biography

Hon Michelle Roberts MLA

For Hon Michelle Roberts MLA

Minister for Police; Road Safety

Michelle Roberts is a strong community advocate with a determination to make a real difference in the lives of her constituents, and those of the people of this state.

Even when in opposition, she drove the establishment of the Midland Redevelopment Authority, and in particular its brief to turn the Railway workshops, left derelict by the Court Government, into a real community asset. She's also been instrumental in getting key community infrastructure delivered into Midland. Major facilities including Police Communications, Forensics and State Traffic are based in Midland. The new Midland public hospital has been located at the Railway Workshops site, Curtin medical school is under construction and Governor Stirling Senior High School has been completely rebuilt. At the recent election, Michelle gained a commitment to a new Midland railway station and an extension of the line to Bellevue.

One of Michelle's proudest achievements as Police Minister in the Gallop Government was legislating for Police officers to be covered under Occupational Health and Safety legislation, something that had been denied for decades. She oversaw the response to the Kennedy Royal Commission into Policing and established WA's first police DNA database which has resulted in the clearing up of a large number of cold cases. Michelle ensured that officers were issued with a uniform standard firearm and augmented the ageing police air fleet with two new aeroplanes. She also pioneered multijurisdictional policing with the establishment of a cross-border facility at Kintore. In addition, she developed multifunctional police centres as hubs of justice and community support services in remote communities.

Michelle Roberts introduced road safety measures that we now consider unremarkable, such as the 50kph default speed limit in built-up areas, and double demerit points on long weekends.

As Emergency Services Minister, she introduced helitacs to WA to help in the fighting of bush fires and established a helicopter emergency rescue service, purchasing and maintaining a Bell helicopter for this purpose. Michelle also introduced the emergency services levy to ensure an equitable and sustainable funding system for Western Australia's emergency services.

As Housing Minister, Michelle pioneered the shared equity "keystart" program that resulted in a significant number of people on lower incomes being able to secure their own homes. As Works Minister, Michelle selected the design and let the contracts for the iconic Perth Arena. As Minister for Indigenous Affairs, she pioneered the Stolen Wages program, which was intended to restore the value of work done by aboriginal people through the provision of a just payment in lieu of the wages that they did not, originally, receive.

She was also instrumental in resolving many years of disagreement about what to do with the remains of the aboriginal warrior, Yagan, with the interment of Yagan's Kaat in a memorial park in Upper Swan.

Michelle also consulted widely with local aboriginal leaders in the Kimberley which led to a significant government investment in Halls Creek and the imposition of strict alcohol restrictions in Fitzroy Crossing.

In opposition, she took up the case of ultramarathon runners severely burned in a bushfire in the Kimberley. As a result of her intervention, a Parliamentary Inquiry was forced and in which she was invited to participate. She also amended the Equal Opportunity Act to provide mothers the right to breastfeed in public places.

Born in Perth, Michelle was educated at Mercedes College and the University of Western Australia. Before entering Parliament, she was a high school teacher and a policy officer in both the Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Occupational Health and Safety. Michelle was a councillor and Deputy Lord Mayor of the City of Perth.

Michelle has achieved a number of firsts for women. She was the first woman President of any state branch of the ALP in Australia, was the first woman to hold the Police and Emergency Services portfolios in Australia. She is the longest-serving woman in the history of the WA Parliament and as the longest serving current member of the Legislative Assembly recently became the first "mother of the house" - all previous longest serving members having been "fathers of the house".

Michelle is an avid West Coast Eagles Fan and a member of the National Executive of the ALP.

She is married to Greg and they have three adult daughters.

As at 23-October-2018