Lockyer disaster advisor awarded

Inspector-General of Emergency Management Alistair Dawson QPM with Michelle Kocsis. Picture: LVRC

If a natural disaster is brewing in the Lockyer Valley, one thing’s for certain, Michelle Kocsis is at the ready.

The Lockyer Valley Regional Council (LVRC) Disaster Management Advisor has dedicated her career to ensuring the community is safe – not only in the thick of disaster operations, but also promoting preparedness in the calm before the storm.

On Friday 12 April Michelle was formally recognised for her tremendous contribution to the disaster management sector, presented with the International Women’s Day ‘Excellence in Disaster Management (Practitioner)’ award by the Inspector-General of Emergency Management Alistair Dawson QPM.

Michelle, who was unaware of her nomination until she received a call saying she had won, thanked Mr Dawson and her disaster management peers for the recognition, saying she was “honoured and grateful” to be acknowledged.

“Why do I do the things that I do in my role?” she said.

“Quite simply for me, it’s about community and I am a part of this community.

“I am also a firm believer in empowering people, providing information so people can make informed decisions, and that’s what I have advocated for many years.

“Things like the Disaster Dashboard, the Flood Information Portal, even the new Planning Scheme, it is all about empowering people and providing mechanisms to keep our community safe.”

Michelle said she wasn’t afraid to lobby for innovative change.

“I like to bang the drum a fair bit when I see the need for improvement,” she said.

“Some of them might be difficult to overcome but we continue to do that every day.”

Emergency services and disaster management personnel joined LVRC staff at the Council Chambers in Gatton to witness the presentation, with Michelle acknowledged she was just one part of a very big team.

“Everyone has a role to play and everyone does their role really, really well,” she said.

LVRC CEO Ian Church said he was yet to meet someone with a greater passion for disaster management than Michelle, and thanked her team members for taking the time to nominate her.

Mayor Tanya Milligan said Michelle had played an integral part in the evolution of disaster management in the Lockyer Valley since joining council in 2011.

“If we look back to where we started to where we are now, there has been a huge change,” Cr Milligan said.

“In disaster management circles, the Lockyer Valley is now looked upon as a leader, someone to turn to to see how things are done.

“Along with her two colleagues in council’s Disaster Management team, Michelle strives for continuous improvement and is always reviewing disaster management programs, looking to develop innovative practices and finding opportunities to improve the community’s disaster preparedness and resilience.

“Like so many of our Officers, Michelle is the epitome of someone who works quietly behind the scenes and who the community is probably not aware of but makes such an impact, and I applaud her on this well-deserved award.”