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Joint Media Release
Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
&
Bruce Scott MP
Federal Member for Maranoa

11 May 2005

Federal budget delivers rebuild of weather offices at Longreach and Charleville


Mr Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, joined Member for Maranoa Mr Bruce Scott MP today to announce the rebuilding of the meteorological offices at Longreach and Charleville.

"These field offices are part 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 Mr Scott for the work that he has done to push for better services in Maranoa."

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. The average age of the offices to be replaced is 40 years and many offices are in harsh climates and in exposed places.

Mr Scott said Charleville is noted in meteorological history for the unsuccessful weather experiment by Queensland Government meteorologist Clement Wragge, who in 1902 tried to induce rain by firing Steiger Vortex guns.

"Charleville's first weather observations were made in 1942 to support defence activities. The current Charleville office was built in 1955 and during the devastating flood of 1990, staff had to work from temporary premises. The Longreach office dates from 1966," Mr Scott said.

"Field offices are vital components of the Bureau's surface and upper atmosphere observations and service delivery networks. They provide advice on local weather and feed data into the Global Observing System for monitoring weather and climate worldwide.

"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."

Other offices to be rebuilt include Willis Island in Queensland; Sydney Airport in New South Wales; 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
Monica McCabe (Mr Scott's office)  07 4662 3822

Commonwealth of Australia