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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

4 February 2004

Weather Warning System Significantly Improved

Victorians will benefit from more timely and targeted broadcasts of severe weather warnings following an agreement signed today by the Australian Government's Bureau of Meteorology, the State Emergency Services and ABC Radio.

Dr Sharman Stone, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage, said the ABC and the Bureau of Meteorology have a long-standing cooperative partnership, with the ABC providing all types of weather information and warnings through their radio and television networks.

"We're improving communication about serious weather conditions by ensuring instant transmission of messages, with repeat messages broadcast for the duration of the emergency weather situation," Dr Stone said.

"Dangerous weather, such as severe thunderstorms or flash flooding, can occur at any time, day or night.

"An extra half an hour to prepare for oncoming weather can save lives and allow more time to protect property."

Dr Stone said this is a major development in communicating emergency information as the ABC will now broadcast warning messages without delay, giving communities additional time for precautionary measures.

"Previously, it has not always been possible for weather warnings to be transmitted immediately to affected communities but this new arrangement, an initiative of the ABC and the State Emergency Service, will make it possible," Dr Stone said.

"The ABC will now use whatever local transmitters are required throughout the State to get vital severe weather information to local areas."

Dr Stone said that this was good news for all members of the community.

"People may be at work, farming or out on the road and could be unaware of a significant risk to their own and others personal safety or property.

"Radio warnings are a highly effective way to ensure that essential information is effectively communicated in a timely way."

The agreement to instantly transmit emergency weather messages will be formalised by a Memorandum of Understanding, to be signed by the Bureau of Meteorology, the ABC and Victorian Emergency Services Organisations at 10.00am on Wednesday 4 February.

Commonwealth of Australia