Celebrating the achievements of Dr Robert Isaacs

Dr Robert Isaacs - a truly inspirational individual

Dr Robert Francis Isaacs OAM, PhD, JP is from the WHADJUK- Bibilmum Wardandi Noongar language group of South Western Australia and lives in the Perth metropolitan area. His outstanding efforts recently earned him the accolade of 2015 Western Australian of the Year and the 2015 Outstanding Achievement Award at the NAIDOC Perth Awards. He is an inspiring, highly regarded and well respected Australian who devotes his life to breaking down cultural barriers and improving the lives of disadvantaged people.

As well as the aforementioned honors, Dr Isaacs has also been the recipient of the Multicultural Community Service Ambassador 2008, Australian of the Year finalist 2006, Western Australian Aboriginal of the Year 2001 and he was also a finalist for Citizen of the Year 2011-2013.
Born at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Subiaco, Robert is a member of the Stolen Generation. He was raised unaware of his Aboriginality as a ward of the state under the Native Welfare Department of the time. Until the age of 7, he lived at St Joseph's Orphanage and Castledare Boys Home at Subiaco. Upon starting school, he was moved to Clontarf Boys Town in Bentley where he was well educated by the Christian Brothers. At 17, Robert left Clontarf with a firm belief that he wanted to 'make something of himself'.
Robert was in his early 20's when a chance meeting led to the discovery that he was Aboriginal.
This meeting changed Robert's life as he finally made contact with his family and made a conscious decision not to be bitter about his start in life.

Robert then began his career as an Aboriginal Health Worker.  He has worked for the Department of Lands Administration for Water Reserves and became a Senior Policy Advisor to the Minister for Housing and Aboriginal Affairs. He was also elected Chairman Administrator of the Aboriginal Housing Board and Chairman of the Aboriginal Lands Trust.

Intent on making a difference, Robert also became the first Aboriginal person elected to local government as Councillor and Deputy Mayor for the City of Gosnells in WA.
Currently employed by Keystart as the Director for the Social Lending Scheme (Access Disability Scheme, Sole Parent and Goodstart), his innovative policies have led to significant improvements for Aboriginal housing in Western Australia.
Robert is passionate about building a genuine, respectful and reciprocal relationship between Aboriginal people and the WA Government. He believes this to be the way forward in sharing better outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Robert views Aboriginal home ownership as the key to helping Aboriginal people develop a stake in the community. He believes that an increase in home ownership has the potential to improve stability, self-esteem, community respect, health, education and law and order for Aboriginal people.

He established the ‘Aboriginal Home Ownership Scheme’ with assisted 6000 Aboriginal households purchase their first home and also the ‘Disability Home Loan Scheme’ which enables people with disabilities to obtain a home loan. He has also played a crucial role in communication between Aboriginal and Non-Indigenous people, state institutions and government.
Robert is currently a member of the State Government’s Aboriginal Advisory Council and will be part of future consultation regarding the closure of a number of remote Aboriginal communities. 
He has also been highly successful in ensuring that institutions take into account Aboriginal issues and equal opportunity requirements and has gained the attention and respect of many key decision makers, including Premiers and Ministers, in support of Aboriginal causes.

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