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The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
13 October 2006
Helping to make communities safer from devastating cyclones will be the focus of a major national forum to be held at Cairns next week.
Parliamentary Secretary with responsibility for the Bureau of Meteorology, Greg Hunt, said the 7th (Australian) Tropical Cyclone Coastal Impacts Program Workshop will examine how communities can lessen the impacts of future cyclones.
Mr Hunt said the event is aimed at helping communities better prepare and deal with cyclones by reviewing results from field and community surveys in the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Larry.
Larry struck the north Queensland coast near Innisfail in March this year, resulting in enormous wind damage to crops and infrastructure between Babinda and Tully. The recovery process continues today.
"The workshop is an excellent opportunity for organisations, such as the Australian Government's Bureau of Meteorology and other agencies, emergency management groups and research bodies to discuss lessons learnt from events such as Larry," Mr Hunt said.
"The event will cover extremely important areas such as warnings, disaster mitigation and response aspects of all tropical cyclones. The cost of social and economic impacts of cyclones will also be examined.
"Australians know only too well how Cyclone Larry wiped out much of the country's banana crop. This highlights how such disasters can impact not just on a local community, but much of the nation as well.
"The workshop is timely in that it is being held ahead of the start of the 2006/07 Tropical Cyclone Season for northern Australia.
"The broad range of interests and skills at the forum will provide an opportunity for building and strengthening partnerships between researchers, emergency managers and policy makers.
"It will help in the understanding of the nature of tropical cyclones, as well as the development of strategies to efficiently manage the risk and hopefully make local communities safer."
The 7th (Australian) Tropical Cyclone Coastal Impacts Program Workshop will be held at the Cairns City Council Civic Reception Rooms on 17 October. Registrations have closed.
Media contact: John Deller (Mr Hunt's office) on 0400 496 596
Conference contact: Jim Davidson (Bureau of Meteorology) on 0409 641 216