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Commonwealth Recovery Liaison Officers

Commonwealth Recovery Liaison Officer to support Queensland recovery

The weather events in Queensland in December 2023 and January 2024 caused significant damage, with strong winds, heavy rains, and widespread flooding. Months on, communities in Far North Queensland now face the challenge of dealing with the aftermath and starting to rebuild their lives and homes. To help with the recovery, the National Emergency Management Agency appointed a Commonwealth Recovery Liaison Officer.  

The role of the Commonwealth Recovery Liaison Officer 

Michelle Lees was appointed by NEMA as the Commonwealth Recovery Liaison Officer in January 2024 to support recovery efforts.  

Michelle has extensive experience in providing support to communities including leading the former Department of Human Services response to the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires and Services Australia’s response to the 2021-22 Queensland and 2022 New South Wales Floods.  

“It’s a great privilege to have been appointed as the Commonwealth’s Recovery Liaison Officer for Queensland recovery, and being given the opportunity to assist with managing and coordinating solutions for the challenges communities face as they rebuild.” 

“My role has involved providing important information related to the local and regional situation, impacts, risks, progress and resources that we can use to help us make decisions that create positive outcomes for those affected,” said Michelle. 

Supporting State and Local Governments 

With the Queensland Government supporting Local Governments to lead the recovery efforts in North Queensland, Michelle has been working to identify additional supports from the Commonwealth for affected regions.  

Working closely with Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA), Michelle works across all levels of government, industry, business and community to integrate and coordinate Commonwealth support for recovery operations across impacted regions.  

Michelle’s role as CRLO includes identifying potential support options to assist public, private, and community organisations involved in recovery. She also collaborates with QRA and other Queensland Government Departments on medium to longer term integrated recovery planning.  

Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt said “I have been on the ground in affected communities and experienced firsthand the devastation that Queenslanders have gone through and will continue to go through as we focus on recovery.” 

“We know that the recovery from these events will take time and there is a massive effort from all levels of government to provide as much support as we can.”