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Joint Media Release
Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
&
Warren Entsch MP
Federal Member for Leichhardt
&
Peter Lindsay MP
Federal Member for Herbert

1 December 2005

North Queenslanders to get graphical thunderstorm warnings through the net


Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, and the Hon. Warren Entsch MP, Federal Member for Leichhardt and Mr Peter Lindsay MP, Federal Member for Herbert today launched a new weather service that will give North Queenslanders better online access and more frequent updates to thunderstorm warnings.

Mr Hunt said an additional graphical depiction of severe thunderstorm warnings can be easily accessed via the internet in real time to complement the text based information about severe thunderstorms and what action to take to protect home and property.

"Because the new system takes less time to prepare warnings and the delivery is faster, this means updates can be more frequent giving people more time to take appropriate action," Mr Hunt said.

"I congratulate the Bureau of Meteorology on providing this new warning service to the people of Queensland and also congratulate both Mr Entsch and Mr Lindsay on their commitment to delivering better weather services in northern Queensland."

Mr Lindsay said he was pleased to be able to help the residents of north Queensland more readily prepare for the storm and cyclone season.

"Queensland's biggest storms occur in the warmer months from October to April and while we can't stop a storm, we can be better prepared to protect our lives and property from the impact of a storm. In Australia, more damage is caused each year by severe storms than by tropical cyclones, earthquakes, floods or bushfires," Mr Lindsay said.

Mr Entsch encouraged North Queenslanders to explore the new system in readiness for the peak of the tropical wet season. "The warnings are freely available on the Bureau's website and give simple information and a state map with locality names to help people work out where a risk of severe storms exists in relation to their location," he said.

The software for the new system was developed originally for Sydney and the 2000 Olympics by the Bureau of Meteorology's Research Centre in Melbourne. Bureau forecasters in Brisbane have been trialling the service with the Queensland State Emergency Service since early this year.

The new warning service will be available from the Bureau's website at www.bom.gov.au/weather/qld. Recorded warnings remain available for the cost of a local call on 1300 659 219.

Media contact:
Kristy McSweeney (Mr Hunt's office) 0415 740 722 - 02 6277 2276
Melissa Bann (Mr Entsch's office) 07 4051 2220
Niki Lyons (Mr Lindsay's office) 0418 762 307

Commonwealth of Australia