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Joint Media Release
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Greg Hunt MP
Federal Member for Hinkler
Paul Neville MP

18 April 2005

New radar and automatic weather station for Gladstone

Mr Paul Neville MP, Federal Member for Hinkler, today officially commissioned Gladstone's new weather watch radar and a new automatic weather station (AWS) on the existing radar site at Radar Hill, Gladstone.

Mr Neville said the new radar and new AWS will provide an important boost for local weather services and improve reliability in monitoring and detecting severe weather events.

"This new fully operational weather watch radar gives detailed imagery showing the intensity, location and movement of rainfall and will provide an important boost for local weather services," Mr Neville said.

"It will give meteorologists, and the public via the Bureau's website, the ability to more easily detect and accurately track severe weather events, including tropical cyclones and heavy rains along the central Queensland coast.

"The new AWS will provide accurate readings of wind, temperature, barometric pressure and rainfall every hour 365 days a year and will be beneficial in monitoring local weather conditions."

Mr Greg Hunt, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Bureau of Meteorology said the new radar was part of a $62 million five year federal Government project.

"This radar is one of 15 new weather watch radars as part of an upgrade to the Bureau's national radar network with state-of-the-art technology. The new AWS is one of over 540 such stations Australia wide providing hourly weather updates, often from remote locations," Mr Hunt said.

"These investments demonstrate the federal Government's commitment to providing quality meteorological services to rural and regional Australia and I commend Paul Neville on his ongoing support and push for the delivery of these services, including more accurate information about severe weather conditions, to the people of the Hinkler electorate.

"This upgrade also has international significance. Surface observations from the Gladstone site form part of the Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) network, a global network of reference stations used to monitor climate trends."

The WSR74S-14 radar replaces an ageing WF44 unit originally commissioned in May 1972. This radar tracked cyclones David (1976) and Simon (1980), both of which caused damage in the Gladstone area. In addition to cyclones, numerous thunderstorm and rain events are observed each year with the Gladstone radar.

The radar imagery and AWS observations are available on the Bureau web site www.bom.gov.au

Media enquiries:
Fiona Murphy (Mr Hunt's office) 0423 577 045
Kate Barwick (Mr Neville's office) 07 4152 0744

Commonwealth of Australia