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Media Release
The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray

14 August 2002

Latest Weather Update Only a Phone Call Away


Warnings of dangerous weather events are now more accessible than ever via a new telephone based service that uses state-of-the-art text-to-speech software.

Announcing the improvements today, Dr Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage, said warnings were now available by phone from anywhere in Australia for the cost of a local call and at the instant they are issued by the Bureau of Meteorology.

Dr Stone, who has responsibility for the Bureau of Meteorology, said the new services were developed using specialised software for converting text into recorded speech. The services are provided in collaboration with a leading telephone message service provider, Legion Interactive.

This new 'instant weather' by phone services complements the long-standing basic metropolitan weather forecasts available on the 1196 telephone service operated by Telstra.

"From Birdsville to Brisbane, Australians can now use their phones for the latest Bureau warnings relevant to their area", Dr Stone said.

As well as warnings, callers can dial up a wide variety of detailed weather forecasts and observations on a range of 1900 services.

The services are provided automatically using text-to-speech conversion software. This converts written weather information into speech on the phone.

"The new system currently processes over 12,000 Bureau of Meteorology weather forecasts and warnings per day - giving users across the country instant updates", Dr Stone said.

The new 1300-prefix services provide access, at the cost of a local call, to Bureau warnings of life-threatening hazards. These include tropical cyclone advices, severe thunderstorm warnings, warnings of damaging winds, fire weather warnings, road weather warnings, flood warnings and coastal waters warnings.

The Bureau's 1900-prefix services also provide access to a comprehensive range of detailed recorded weather information at a cost of 77 cents per minute, from anywhere in Australia (more from mobiles and public phones).

Legion Interactive, a Sydney-based firm that is one of the country's largest recorded telephone message service providers, has a contract with the Bureau to deliver the products nationwide.

Listings of telephone weather services numbers can be obtained from local White Pages directories under "Bureau of Meteorology" or from the Bureau's Website at http://www.bom.gov.au/other/voice.shtml.

Alternatively, a recorded voice listing of 1900 and 1300 telephone services can be obtained by dialling 1900 926 113, or a printed directory of fax services can be obtained by polling Freefax 1800 630 100.

For further information:
Simon Frost 0419 495 468, Office of Dr Sharman Stone
Technical inquiries: Phil Alford (03) 9669 4546 Bureau of Meteorology Head Office

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

Commonwealth of Australia