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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

9 February 2004

Improving Communication of Vital Climate Information

South Australians whose businesses or safety depends on accurate and timely information about climate and weather will be attending a special seminar at Kent Town in Adelaide tomorrow.

Representatives of the State Government, the Australian Barley Board, the South Australian Farmers' Federation, the South Australian Dairy Farmers' Association, South Australia Water, emergency service groups and universities will sit down with meteorologists at a Regional Climate Seminar organised by the Australian Government's Bureau of Meteorology.

Dr Sharman Stone, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage said a major focus of the seminar is to strengthen links between the Commonwealth Bureau and State based agencies.

"There will be information exchange on SA climate and weather matters and discussion to ensure the latest information is communicated quickly and effectively to those who depend on it most," said Dr Stone.

"Improved access to climate information and seasonal outlooks is especially vital for the rural sector.

"Decisions about next seasons planting, destocking properties, investment in fodder or water restocking strategies is all climate related.

"We must ensure the information provided by the Bureau is perfectly understood and can be used effectively by our Australian agricultural community," Dr Stone said.

Dr Stone said the severity of the 2002-03 drought had reinforced the need for quality climate information across Australia.

"Climate change has also created a new factor in understanding weather behaviour.

"In particular, higher temperatures are affecting evaporation rates that have already proved a challenge to primary producers.

Last year the Federal Government committed $62.2 million for new weather radars, with Mt Gambier's newest radar to be opened by the local Federal Member, Mr Patrick Secker, on 23 February 2004.

"Over 200 million hits on the Bureau's website each month are proof that the Australian public are determined to be forewarned and forearmed when it comes to weather," Dr Stone said.

Similar seminars are planned in other Australian states and the Northern Territory over the coming 12 months.

Commonwealth of Australia