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Media Release
Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
&
Stephen Robertson MP
Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines

22 May 2005

Report on Queensland climate


The Australian and Queensland governments today officially released a series of reports to assist local councils and communities along the Queensland coast better plan for future development and mitigate for severe weather conditions.

Mr Greg Hunt, Parliamentary Secretary with Ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said the reports looked at projected severe weather conditions and their potential impact on coastal Queensland communities.

"This research has improved current estimates of storm surge levels for selective locations along the Queensland east coast, and provided estimates of likely wind-related damage from cyclones for the Cairns, Townsville and Mackay urban centres," Mr Hunt said.

"It will be a valuable resource for local councils and other Government bodies in planning for future land use, coastal development and marine infrastructure designs; and in designing and implementing emergency response programs."

Mr Stephen Robertson, Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines said low lying areas on the Queensland coast that are already at risk will need to carefully consider the findings of this project for future planning.

"The project concludes that in a warmer Queensland the potential risk of storm tide flooding would increase. Sea level rise, increased cyclone activity and related storm tide events could become more extreme and cause more coastal flooding and damage," Mr Robertson said.

"Consequently, buildings, bridges, drainage systems, esplanades and harbours currently being developed to last over 70 years will need to be built to withstand the predicted more extreme climatic events."

The six reports form the Queensland Climate Change and Community Vulnerability to Tropical Cyclones project and took scientists four years to research and model the impact of climate change on cyclone and ocean behaviour along Queensland's east coast.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology and the Queensland departments of Natural Resources and Mines; Emergency Services and the Environmental Protection Agency coordinated the research project with funding provided by a Special Treasury Greenhouse Initiative Grant and the Natural Disasters Risk Management Studies Program.

The project won both the State and National Emergency Management Australia Safer Communities Awards in October and December 2004 for its world best practice contribution to disaster risk management.

The research is presently being extended as a collaborative government project into the Gulf of Carpentaria including the Northern Territory.

The reports are available in hard copy and from the web at www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/ClimateChanges/pub/OceanHazardsMenu.html

Media enquiries:
Fiona Murphy (Mr Hunt's office)  0423 577 045
Paul Lynch (Mr Robertson's office) 07 3896 3689

Commonwealth of Australia