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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

3 May 2004

Forum to discuss weathering the information storm

Queenslanders whose businesses or safety depend on accurate and timely information about climate and weather will be attending a special seminar in Brisbane on 6 May.

Dr Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary with responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said a major focus of the inaugural Queensland Agriculture, Climate and Weather Services Forum is to provide a seamless flow of information and co-operation between the Commonwealth Bureau and State based agencies.

"How to best deliver fast and accurate information on Queensland's climate and weather matters to those who depend on it will be the major feature of this forum," Dr Stone said.

"It is no good having brilliant information that is accurate and timely if some consumers have difficulty finding it or interpreting its meaning."

The forum is organised by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in conjunction with the Queensland Departments of Primary Industries and Fisheries and Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.

Dr Stone said it was particularly important to ensure information provided by the Bureau was totally accessible and could be used effectively by the Australian agricultural community.

"Decisions about next season's planting, when to destock properties in drought, investment in fodder or water shortage strategies are all climate related. Climate change has created a new factor in understanding weather behaviour. In particular, higher temperatures than normal during the recent dry years has proved a particular challenge to primary producers," Dr Stone said.

The Brisbane forum is the second of a series of seminars planned in Australian states and the Northern Territory over the coming 12 months. Representatives of the State Government, the Queensland Farmers' Federation, AgForce Queensland, Queensland Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association, Canegrowers' Association, emergency service groups and banks will attend the forum.

"Somewhere between 300 and 400 million hits on the Bureau's website each month are proof that the Australian public are determined to be forewarned and forearmed when it comes to weather."

New Doppler Radar

Dr Stone said Brisbane was one of six sites nationwide scheduled to see a Doppler Weather Radar constructed as part of the federal Government's $62 million five-year commitment to replace less powerful meteorological radar and put Dopplers in key locations.

"The new Brisbane radar is expected to by built by 2005 and has double the current resolution to better detect and forecast severe weather patterns. It will enhance the Bureau's ability to detect major storms affecting the South East Queensland region and should increase the warning time given to the local community," Dr Stone said.

Commonwealth of Australia