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Joint Media Release
The Hon. Dr Sharman Stone MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray
&
Mr Barry Haase MHR
Federal Member for Kalgoorlie

21 July 2004

Tracking the eye of the storms over the Pilbara


Weather forecasts in the Pilbara region are set to benefit with an upgrade of Port Hedland's weather watch radar.

Dr Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary with Ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said the upgrade of the radar at the existing radar site at Port Hedland Airport will serve to maintain the high standard of the tropical cyclone warning service in this very cyclone-prone area of Australia.

“The Pilbara area regularly experiences some of Australia's fiercest tropical cyclones including cyclone Fay last March,” Dr Stone said.

“The weather watch radar will provide meteorologists with detailed images of the intensity and movement of rain echoes, supplementing the full observational program carried out by the staff of the Port Hedland Meteorological Office.”

“It will afford the Port Hedland community timely warning of approaching cyclones as well as assisting in the general detection of thunderstorms and rain. It is expected to be fully operational later this year.”

Dr Stone said the Port Hedland radar was one of 15 weather watch radars to be replaced or upgraded across Australia, together with six new Doppler radars, under a $62.2 million Federal Government project over five years. The Bureau is now calling for expressions of interest from local and outside contractors for work to begin on installing the new radar equipment.

Federal Member for Kalgoorlie, Barry Haase, welcomed the news and said the upgrade reflected the Federal Government's commitment to delivering quality meteorological services to rural and regional Australia.

“This is a significant upgrade for the region's weather surveillance capabilities, and complements the highly successful improvements made to the Learmonth Radar station near Exmouth,” said Mr Haase.

“This means that Port Hedland will have one of the most modern weather surveillance facilities in Australia. It's all about supporting residents of the Pilbara and those who choose to live in regional Australia.”

Dr Stone praised Mr Haase who has been a major supporter of the Bureau of Meteorology in his electorate and the upgrade at Port Hedland.

“Mr Haase understands the importance to the local community of improved weather services. He continues to work hard to ensure that the Kalgoorlie electorate has access to some of the best meteorological facilities and services in the nation,” Dr Stone said.

Commonwealth of Australia