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Media Release
Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald
Parliamentary Secretary to the
Minister for the Environment


15 September 1997

A major weapon in Australia's continued battle against skin cancer was unveiled today in Queensland to mark the internationally recognised World Ozone Day.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Bureau of Meteorology, Senator Ian Macdonald, today announced the Bureau would again offer daily forecasts of UV radiation intensity - the primary cause of skin cancer.

"Daily UV forecasts have significant impacts in raising the community's consciousness about what is a very serious health hazard.

"In Queensland UV forecasts have particular importance, with the region having one of the highest incidences of skin cancer in the world".

The index is a simple way of representing the amount of energy transferred from the Sun's rays to human skin. It is an open-ended index with a top expected this year in Northern Australia of 16. Each index point equals 25 milliwatts of solar radiation in the wavelengths that cause skin cancer.

Senator Macdonald says that crucial improvements have been made to the Radiation index since it was incorporated into Bureau of Meteorology forecasts in September last year, making the new service a more effective warning system.

"Additional areas of the country are now covered, the forecasting computers have been improved, and public comment has lead to the refinement of the colour map which shows UV intensity.

"The Bureau also hopes to soon issue an hour-by-hour UV forecast graph for media and the Bureau's Internet and Weather-by-Fax services.

This year's International day for the Protection of the Ozone Layer marks the 10th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol, the United Nations General Assembly's historic agreement for further cooperation in dealing with global environmental threat.

Senator Macdonald says the event provides Queensland people with a unique opportunity to reflect on the progress that has been made and remind ourselves of the need to protect this invaluable shield that safeguards our planet.

"Australia is leading the world in ozone research, and is a world leader in phasing out ozone depleting substances.

"Australia has banned the manufacture and import of CFC's, halons, carbon tetrachloride and methyl chloroform, and also restricts the consumption of HCFC's and methyl bromide".

Monday, 15 September, 1997

For more information contact Brad Robinson on (077) 713 066 or 0418 673 600.

Commonwealth of Australia