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

11 May 2005

Federal budget delivers rebuild of weather office at Willis Island

Mr Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, joined Member for Leichhardt, Mr Warren Entsch, and Member for Herbert, Mr Peter Lindsay, today to announce the rebuilding of Willis Island's meteorological office.

"Willis Island's field office is one of 12 being rebuilt over the next six years thanks to the Howard Government's $19.8 million budget boost for the Bureau," Mr Hunt said.

"This new funding in the 2005-06 Budget demonstrates the Australian Government's commitment to delivering quality meteorological services to communities across Australia.

Mr Hunt congratulated Mr Entsch and Mr Lindsay for the work they have done to push for better services at Willis Island. The funding will combine with $14.2 million of existing Bureau funding to rebuild the 12 offices, which are part of an Australia-wide network of 50 offices.

"Willis Island is the veteran of the offices to be replaced, located in an especially severe environment in the Coral Sea. The office was built in 1950 and is a vital element in the tropical cyclone warning system," Mr Entsch said.

"Field offices are vital components of the Bureau's surface and upper atmosphere observations and service delivery networks," Mr Lindsay said.

"They provide advice on local weather and feed data into the Global Observing System for monitoring weather and climate worldwide. Most operate weather-watch radars and also monitor the upper atmosphere with radar-tracked weather balloons."

The average age of the offices to be replaced is 40 years and many offices are in harsh climates and in exposed places.

"This latest investment by the Howard Government complements the current five-year $62 million technological upgrade of the national weather service, which includes six Doppler radars and 15 new weather watch radars," Mr Entsch said.

Other offices to be rebuilt include Longreach and Charleville in Queensland; Sydney Airport in New South Wales; Ceduna in South Australia; and Albany, Carnarvon, Geraldton, Broome, Halls Creek, Esperance and Port Hedland in Western Australia. The Bureau's total resourcing for 2005-06 is $237.1 million.

Media enquiries:
Fiona Murphy (Mr Hunt's office)  0423 577 045
Greg Doolan (Mr Entsch's office) 0418 213 243
John Macgowan (Mr Lindsay's office) 0418 762 307

Commonwealth of Australia