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Media release
The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders

8 May 2006

Meteorology report card for our region

The Hon. Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with Ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said he is delighted that Australia is this year hosting the World Meteorological Organization Regional Association meeting in Adelaide.

“This meeting will have a direct benefit for our neighbours in the region,” Mr Hunt said.

“The experts will outline the latest science and technology in many areas critical to our well-being,’ Mr Hunt added. ‘We will hear the latest regional perspectives on issues like climate change, improved communicating for tsunami warnings, and sharing new meteorological technologies with developing countries.”

“The senior officers of the World Meteorological Organization—Secretary-General, Mr Michel Jarraud and President, Dr Alexander Bedritsky— will attend the 14th Session of Regional Association V in Adelaide between May 9-16. We expect up to 70 participants from 21 WMO Members (Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Indonesia, Kiribati, Malaysia, Federated States of Micronesia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Tonga, UK, USA and Vanuatu) and international organisations.  The President of Regional Association V is Mr Arona Ngari of the Cook Islands.”

“In our part of the world, this is something of a meteorological Olympics: a chance to collaborate, to improve everybody’s performance by sharing intellectual and technical strengths. For instance, the continuing upgrade of meteorology’s global telecommunications system for improved tsunami warnings will also mean more efficient distribution of the region’s weather forecasts and warnings.”

“This meeting, last hosted by Australia in Melbourne in 1982, comes at a significant time, given the region’s latest exposures to some of the worst natural disasters in recent years.”

“In the past 14 months, in Australia alone, we have seen the fury of three major tropical cyclones: Ingrid, Larry and Monica had all, at some point, hit land with category 4 force.”

“The Australian Bureau of Meteorology played a significant part in reducing the possible impacts on life and property during Ingrid, Larry and Monica, given its tremendous service and close partnerships with state and federal agencies:”

“Warning services such as those provided by the Bureau are crucial in preparing communities and emergency services on what to do before, during and after the disaster event.”

“Meteorology has a remarkable tradition of international collaboration dating from establishment of the International Meteorological Organisation in 1873. Australia has long been active in the region—we have supplied some regional observation systems, trained hundreds of specialists here and in their own countries, transferred new skills (including seasonal weather prediction), and shared in special projects like the campaign to gather and conserve Pacific weather records dating back to the 19th century, a vital part of the planet’s climate record.”

Media are invited to the opening of the Regional Association V meeting at 10am on Tuesday, May 9 at the Stamford Plaza, 150 North Terrace, Adelaide.

(Dr John Zillman, Australian Director of Meteorology from 1978-2003, and President of the World Meteorological Organization from 1995-2003, will be presented with the 50th IMO prize (announced last year) at 7.30pm on May 9.)

Media Contact:
Kristy McSweeney (Mr Hunt’s office) 0415 740 722

Commonwealth of Australia