WA Senator: 2005 - present
Sixteen years as the Coordinator of the Conservation Council of Western Australia, Rachel led the Green charge against the Government’s unpopular WorkChoices, Welfare to Work laws and the Northern Territory Intervention. During the Montara oil spill off the North West Australian coast in 2009, Rachel was one of the first to see the magnitude of the crisis first-hand and launched calls for a full inquiry into the disaster.
Rachel has quickly gained a reputation as an assertive and hard working member of the Senate. She has been a champion of the environment, with marine conservation, whaling, water and Natural Resource Management high on the agenda. As a result of a succession of offshore oil spills, Rachel believes it is clear that changes to legislation regulating offshore oil and gas production, together with better enforcement, is required. The oil spill also highlighted the need for a system of marine protected areas around our coast, although federal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson approved 31 new offshore oil exploration leases around Australia, including an area 85km off the coast of Margaret River in WA. Rachel is currently working on this as well as introducing much needed reforms and improvements to aged care services, increasing funding for mental health and preventive health measures nationwide and improving the opportunities and life expectancy of Indigenous Australians. Rachel successfully negotiated $50 million for health promotion in the ‘Alcopops’ legislation and developed policies for the improvement of Australia’s health, aged care and community services sectors.
Rachel's portfolio responsibilities are Family, Community & Disability Services; Fisheries & Marine; Ageing; Aboriginal and Torrest Strait Islander Issues;
Indigenous Health; Agriculture; The Kimberley & Northern Australia and Natural Resource Management.