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Media Release
The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray

1 June 2004

Improved weather monitoring for the Queensland coast

Willis Island may be a tiny speck in the Coral Sea but for the last 83 years its weather monitoring equipment has been helping to warn Queenslanders of oncoming cyclones and storms.

Willis Island is now to have a $7.5 million major weather upgrade including a new radar, upper air station, better telecommunications and new equipment for its automatic weather station.

Dr Sharman Stone MP, Parliamentary Secretary with responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said Willis Island, located 500km northeast of Townsville, was a unique observing station providing a range of important surface and upper air meteorological observations in a true maritime environment.

"The tiny island is not much bigger than a few tennis courts, but it has been our eye in the storm and an early warning system for almost a century.

"The infrastructure upgrade will improve the quality and reliability of services, including web based services, provided by Willis Island.

"The work on Willis Island will complement the upgrade to weather services all along the Queensland coast including a $4.5 million investment upgrading weather services and infrastructure in Bowen and Mackay.

"The work on Willis Island will extend over the next 18 months. Much of this work will be done during the tropical dry season.

"The Bureau's range of monitoring technologies, including new weather radars along the Queensland coast will cover Willis Island's usual operations while the upgrades are carried out.

"The investment is part of the $62 million Government program of replacing and upgrading weather radars around Australia."

Commonwealth of Australia