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Joint Media Release
Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
&
Bureau of Meterology

24 November 2005

Mariners safe with high frequency broadcasts


A day on the waves will now be safer with High Frequency marine weather forecasts set to continue up to mid 2007 while a review of the future technology needed to maintain the service will be undertaken after that, according to Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment Greg Hunt who oversees the Bureau of Meteorology.

"This free-to-air service provides mariners with essential maritime safety information and the review will consider further HF radio and alternative technologies for delivering the Bureau's marine weather services" Mr Hunt said.

Mr Hunt said that the Bureau's 24 hour a day marine broadcast service delivers voice and facsimile weather warnings, forecasts and charts to HF-equipped vessels working in Australian coastal and high seas areas. The broadcast originates from transmitters at Charleville (callsign VMC) in Queensland and Wiluna (callsign VMW) in Western Australia and commenced in 2002.

Mr Hunt said that as part of the review the Bureau of Meteorology would be consulting with the marine community over the coming months. Feedback will be used to improve the quality and content of the HF radio weather service or any future marine service delivery.

"I encourage mariners who use the HF radio weather service to forward comments and suggestions for improvements to the Bureau so we can gauge how the system is working."

"The feedback on the system from people who use it is very important. It's not often that we stop and think that the Bureau of Meteorology's technology actually saves lives - but it does."

Technical details and schedules of the high frequency broadcasts are available on the Bureau's web site at www.bom.gov.au/marine/marine_weather_radio.shtml

Please forward comments about the HF radio weather service to: Marine Weather Services, Bureau of Meteorology, GPO Box 1289, Victoria 3001.
Or email webmar@bom.gov.au
Closing date for comment is 31 March 2006.

Media Contact:
Kristy McSweeney (Mr Hunt's office) 0415 740 722
Ken Wilson ( Bureau of Meterology) 03 9669 4535

Commonwealth of Australia