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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 June 2002

Bureau of Meteorology on the Move

The Head Office and Victorian Regional Office of the Bureau of Meteorology will relocate to new premises at 700 Collins Street, Melbourne, when the lease on its current building expires in March 2004. The site, on the fringe of Melbourne's Central Business District, is part of the Docklands development.

Dr Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary responsible for the Bureau, said the move was necessary to continue to provide the best possible meteorological services to the community for the next decade and beyond.

'The new building will meet the Bureau's highly specialised computing and communications requirements and will also provide improved and cost-effective building services within a smaller area of office space', said Dr Stone.

The Bureau's central operations are currently based at 150 Lonsdale Street in Melbourne's CBD. The building, which is 28 years old, has been home to the Bureau's Head Office since 1974 and to its Victorian Regional Office since 1986.

Dr Stone said the Bureau's existing premises have a limited capacity to cope with the future demands of an organisation which operates one of Australia's largest supercomputer complexes. 'It is vital for the Bureau to maintain the appropriate infrastructure and flexibility to ensure that its day-to-day forecasts and warnings are not compromised', she said.

The Bureau will phase in its next generation of high performance computing equipment over the next few years. During an initial testing phase, the new equipment will need to be co-located with existing equipment. 'Space considerations in the existing building will not permit this to take place', said Dr Stone.

Dr Stone says she is particularly pleased that the new building, which will have at least a four star energy performance rating, will be environmentally friendly. 'Its design provides for better utilisation of floor space, maximisation of natural light and lower overall energy consumption with resultant reductions in on-going operating costs', she said. The Bureau's operations will take up over half of the office space available in the building.

The new location is well serviced by public transport, allowing easy access for Bureau clients. Selection of the Docklands site means the Australian Government will participate in one of Melbourne's most innovative developments.

Weather observations for the Melbourne area will not be affected by the move. Readings of temperature, rainfall, air pressure, wind speed and direction, humidity and evaporation will continue to be taken at the Bureau's enclosure at the Royal Society Grounds on the corner of Victoria and La Trobe Streets. Observations were first taken at this site on 31 December 1907.

Property consultants KFPW Pty Limited report that the current state of the Melbourne property market has enabled the Bureau to negotiate commercially favourable terms for its new building, resulting in a significant improvement in the quality of its infrastructure while reducing its annual property operating expenses. The Bureau has agreed to a 12-year lease with flexibility to reduce its space requirements in the future. Savings will flow from the selection of a building that incorporates a high level of Environmentally Sustainable Design elements.

Tendering for the new accommodation has been handled by an in-house Accommodation Project Management Group with support from KFPW Pty Limited, engineering consultants Gutteridge Haskins & Davey Pty Ltd, and Building Services Design & Management who have a close knowledge of the Bureau's specialised building requirements.

For further information please contact:
Dr Stone's Office: Simon Frost - 0419 495 468
Bureau of Meteorology: Tarini Casinader, Manager, Accommodation Project - 03 9669 4851 or 0438 322 948

New Head Office and Victorian Regional Office of the Bureau of Meteorology - 700 Collins Street, Melbourne

New Head Office and Victorian Regional Office of the Bureau of Meteorology - 700 Collins Street, Melbourne

Commonwealth of Australia