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Joint Media Release
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Greg Hunt MP
Michael Ferguson MP
Federal Member for Bass

26 April 2005

Improvements for Launceston weather forecasts

Mr Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, and Mr Michael Ferguson, Federal Member for Bass, today announced that the Bureau has extended its four-day minimum temperature forecasts to include Launceston. In addition, daily air quality forecasts will again feature as part of Launceston's winter weather forecasts.

"Launceston City will today join Hobart City, St Helens, Swansea and Burnie/Devonport in benefiting from minimum temperature forecasts four days ahead from the Bureau's Tasmanian Regional Forecasting centre," Mr Hunt said.

Mr Ferguson said the new forecasts will benefit the general public and industrial groups and were particularly valuable for agricultural groups across the Northern Tasmanian region.

"For example, orchardists and viticulturalists will be able to take advantage of the improved forecast service by noting, for example, forecasts of low temperatures and planning activities to minimise the potential damage that any associated frost may cause," Mr Ferguson said.

Mr Ferguson also welcomed the recommencement of quality air forecasts for Launceston.

"Daily quality air forecasts predict the amount of very small particles in the air over Launceston and alert residents to the impact of smoke on local pollution levels ," Mr Ferguson said.

"The forecasts will appear as part of the 5 pm weather forecast for Launceston City and include one of three categories: Good; Moderate: or Poor. If a "Poor" rating is predicted the forecasts will contain advice on how residents might minimise the amount of wood smoke."

Mr Hunt acknowledged the representations Mr Ferguson had made to ensure the Bass electorate had the same access to quality meteorological services, including more accurate information about local air quality conditions during winter.

"The new addition to the four-day forecasts for Launceston and the recommencement of daily air quality forecasts demonstrates the federal Government's commitment to providing quality meteorological services to rural and regional Australia. I commend Michael Ferguson on his ongoing support and push for the delivery of these services to the people of his electorate," Mr Hunt said .

Since 1997 the federal Government has been working with the Launceston community to address local pollution levels. This includes the Launceston Woodheater Replacement Program , which has had a positive impact by reducing woodheater related smoke by 36 per cent.

Media Contact:
Fiona Murphy (Mr Hunt's office) 0423 577 045
Tim Robertson 03 6331 0074 (Mr Ferguson's office)

Commonwealth of Australia