Member for East Metro
Helen is currently serving her third term as an Upper House Member for the East Metropolitan Region. The East Metropolitan Region stretches from Bullsbrook to Keysbrook and covers 3,697 square kilometres, containing over 311,000 electors and 10 local governments. Helen shares this region in Government with Hon. Donna Faragher MLC and Hon. Alyssa Hayden MLC.
Helen was Minister for Mental Health; Disability Services from December 2010 and then added Child Protection to her portfolios in March 2013, holding all three portfolios until April 2016. Her passion for mental health reform saw the establishment of Australia’s first Mental Health Commission, the State’s first Minister for Mental Health, the enactment of a modernised, contemporary Mental Health Act and the State’s first suicide prevention strategy. As a member of the National Disability Reform Council, Helen introduced the National Disability Insurance Scheme to Western Australia and commissioned its rollout state-wide. Helen was also appointed to co-lead the Remote Services Reform, focussing on improving outcomes for Aboriginal people living in remote communities of Western Australia. She was also Deputy Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council from March 2013 until April 2016.
Prior to joining Cabinet, Helen was Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer; Minister for Commerce; Science and Innovation; Housing; Water; Mental Health.
Helen is currently a Member of the Standing Committee on Estimates and Financial Operations and a Member of the Joint Standing Committee on Audit. Helen has previously been a member of the following Standing Committees: Public Administration and Finance; Public Administration; Legislation and Procedure and Privileges. Helen also chaired a Select Committee into Public Obstetric Services from 24 May 2006 until 7 August 2008.
In opposition, Helen was responsible for the portfolios of Women’s Interests; Mental Health and Public Sector Management.
Helen commenced her working life as an Occupational Therapist and has spent many years in senior executive positions within the West Australian Health Services including: Regional Director of Central Wheatbelt, Midwest and Gascoyne Health Services; Director of South Metropolitan Health Authority; General Manager Finance and Resources, Health Department of Western Australia; General Manager Armadale Health Service; Chief Executive Officer of Kalamunda Community Care.
Helen was born in Kojonup as one of seven children. She has lived in the Kalamunda area since the early 1970s, is married to Allan and has three children and four grandchildren. Helen and Allan have property in Pingelly and Wandering where Allan breeds horses and where Helen escapes to when she gets the chance!