Department of the Environment

Archived media releases and speeches

Senator the Hon Don Farrell

Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water

Strengthening the Bureau of Meteorology

Media release
8 May 2012

The Gillard Government will improve the capacity of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to respond to severe weather events by boosting funding in the 2012-13 Budget.

"Recent extreme weather events like the devastating floods in Queensland and Victoria, bushfires in Western Australia and tropical cyclone Yasi have highlighted the growing demands on forecasting services," Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water Senator Don Farrell said today.

"At times like this, it's critical Australians have access to up to the minute weather information and world's best forecasting.

"That is why this year's Budget will provide additional funding of $4.8 million in 2012-13 to increase the Bureau's frontline capabilities.

"This will involve the employment of up to 20 expert meteorologists, recruitment and training of up to 10 new local meteorologists and recruitment and training of up to 10 additional flood forecasters.

"The measures announced today will provide the Bureau with better access to the skills and expertise it needs to respond to extreme weather events," Senator Farrell said. Last year, the government initiated an independent review into the Bureau's capacity to provide seasonal forecasting services and to respond to extreme weather events and natural disasters.

The strengthening of frontline staffing capacity is one aspect of the government's response to the review, which will be released shortly.

The Bureau of Meteorology will also trial a recommendation from the review that the Bureau host advertising on its website.

"The one-year trial will involve strict guidelines about the type of advertising permitted on the site," Senator Farrell said.

Revenue raised from this trial will contribute to the improvements in forecasting announced today.

At the end of the trial the government will make an assessment as to whether advertising will continue on the Bureau's website.