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Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
13 November 2005
Farmers have been praising the heavens recently after rains in the second half of the year have bought much improved conditions in inland New South Wales, Queensland and the South-West of Western Australia, according to the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for Bureau of Meteorology.
Farmers in these areas have received a welcome surprised with these spring rains and even in some parts of Central Australia rainfall has more than doubled the average.
"Except for the North West of New South Wales rainfall across the state during October generally exceeded 50mm and in Queensland, falls to 150mm or more were recorded across parts of the Darling Downs and along the south Queensland Coast."
"Several towns in the South West of Western Australia recorded 50mm or more above their October averages," Mr Hunt said.
In contrast Southern Victoria and many parts of South Australia have recorded below average rainfall in the last six months. The regional areas around Brisbane and Sydney have maintained average rainfalls but, according to Mr Hunt, much more is needed to sustain current water demands.
"Much more than average rainfall levels are needed in Sydney and Brisbane to counteract the longer term deficits that have developed over the years."
"This is not unique to Brisbane and Sydney. Melbourne is on course for a record breaking ninth successive year of below average rainfall."
"These alarming trends confirm that each state and our major water authorities must make recycling of waste waster for industry and agriculture a national priority - especially water authorities in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane," Mr Hunt said.
Mr Hunt added that while rainfall in some areas is down, temperatures right across Australia are at record highs.
"Mean temperatures in most capital cities are up nearly 1.03 °C above average for the year to date, exceeding the 1998 record of 0.96 °C above average."
Mr Hunt added the abnormal warmth has occurred consistently, with every month of 2005 being warmer than normal. The most extreme month was April 2005, which was the warmest April on record over nearly two-thirds of Australia, and the national average of 2.58°C above normal was the highest ever recorded for a single calendar month.
Mr Hunt said the Bureau predicts warm temperatures are likely to continue for the rest of the year while rainfall is expected to be close to average.
NOTES:Long-term averages are currently calculated over the period from 1961 to 1990.
Kristy McSweeney 0415 740 722