Welenie works for the Department of Lands and Physical Planning. She has a background in environmental science and has led projects with the United Nations Development Program and the Climate Change Development Authority.
As a technical officer, Welenie advises rural communities on adapting to climate change through sustainable land use planning. She also implements gender inclusion and economic empowerment programs with mothers, teaching them how to reduce the impacts of plastic pollution in Port Moresby.
With this experience, Welenie wants to develop policies at the national level to safeguard sustainable land use.
Leslie has extensive experience in land, natural resource and wildlife management, planning, policy and legislation. She has held responsibility for world heritage policy in Queensland as well as day to day management responsibility for the Queensland section of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia World Heritage Area. Leslie also served as park expert on the Federal Government’s Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Consultative Committee, the only non-Tasmanian appointee.
In 2012, she was awarded a Public Service Medal in the Australia Day Honours for outstanding public service to environmental conservation and management in Queensland.
Leslie retired in August 2014 and was appointed by the Australian and Queensland Governments as Chair of the Wet Tropics Management Authority in 2015, a position she still holds.