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Joint Media Release
Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Bruce Scott MP
Federal Member for Maranoa

1 December 2005

Rural and regional weather services improved

Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, and the Hon. Bruce Scott MP, Federal Member for Maranoa today launched a new weather service that will give rural and regional 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, this means updates can be more frequent giving people more time to take appropriate action."

"I congratulate the Bureau of Meteorology on providing this new warning service to the people of Queensland and also congratulate Mr Scott on his commitment to better weather services in rural and regional Queensland," Mr Hunt said.

Mr Scott said he was pleased to be able to help residents more readily prepare for the storm 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 Scott said.

"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", Mr Scott 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 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
Monica McCabe ( Mr Scott's office) 0427 743 126

Commonwealth of Australia