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Joint Media Release
Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
&
Senator the Hon Bill Heffernan
Senator for New South Wales

11 May 2005

Federal budget delivers rebuild of weather office at Sydney Airport


Mr Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, joined NSW Senator Bill Heffernan today to announce the rebuilding of Sydney Airport's 39- year-old meteorological office.

"Sydney Airport's field office is one of 12 being rebuilt over the next six years thanks to the Howard Government's $19.8 million budget boost for the Bureau," Mr Hunt said.

"This new funding in the 2005-06 Budget demonstrates the Australian Government's commitment to delivering quality meteorological services to communities across Australia.

"I congratulate Senator Heffernan for the work that he has done to push for better services at Sydney Airport."

The funding will combine with $14.2 million of existing Bureau funding to rebuild the 12 offices, which are part of an Australia-wide network of 50 offices.

"Field offices are vital components of the Bureau's surface and upper atmosphere observations and service delivery networks," Senator Heffernan said.

"They provide advice on local weather and feed data into the Global Observing System for monitoring weather and climate worldwide. Most operate weather-watch radars and also monitor the upper atmosphere with radar-tracked weather balloons."

The average age of the offices to be replaced is 40 years and many offices are in harsh climates and in exposed places. Senator Heffernan said the Sydney Airport meteorological office was built in 1966.

"This latest investment by the Howard Government complements the current five-year $62 million technological upgrade of the national weather service, which includes six Doppler radars and 15 new weather watch radars," Senator Heffernan said.

Other offices to be rebuilt include Willis Island, Longreach and Charleville in Queensland; Ceduna in South Australia; and Albany, Carnarvon, Geraldton, Broome, Halls Creek, Esperance and Port Hedland in Western Australia. The Bureau's total resourcing for 2005-06 is $237.1 million.

Media enquiries:
Fiona Murphy (Mr Hunt's office)  0423 577 045
Trish Quan (Senator Heffernan's office)  0414 912 888

Commonwealth of Australia