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Joint Media release
Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
The Hon De-Anne Kelly MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Trade
Federal Member for Dawson

20 April 2006

New Bureau of Meteorology office officially opened

Nationals federal MP for Dawson De-Anne Kelly today opened the new Bureau of Meteorology facility on Mt Bassett.

The local bureau has been operating from the new centre atop Mt Bassett since March 3 and replaces the existing facility that has served the Bureau on the same site since 1959.

Mrs Kelly said hawk-eyed locals might have already noticed the Bureau’s distinctive building.

“The new centre has been purpose-built for the Bureau of Meteorology and includes a new weather radar housed within a distinctive white radome and replaced the existing equipment in operation since 1971,” Mrs Kelly said.

“This new fully-operational weather watch radar will provide meteorologists, and the public through the Bureau's website, with the ability to more easily detect and accurately track severe weather events including tropical cyclones and heavy rains along the Queensland coast,” she said.

Mr Hunt said the new radar will provide meteorologists with more detailed imagery showing the intensity, location and movement of rainfall.

“This will enable them to more closely monitor weather patterns, but will also be used to track weather balloons to measure conditions in the upper atmosphere,” Mr Hunt said.

“I congratulate De-Anne Kelly who has been committed to the new centre from the beginning and has been active in ensuring that the Mackay office has the best technical facilities available.

“Although the Mackay region has been fortunate in recent years to avoid major tropical cyclone impacts, the city was partially destroyed in 1918 by destructive cyclonic winds and an exceptionally high storm tide.”

The Mackay Meteorological Office radar is being replaced as one of 15 weather watch radars to be replaced or upgraded under the five-year $62 million radar upgrade project announced through the 2003-04 Budget.

Media contact:
Kristy McSweeney (Office of Mr Hunt) 0415 740 722
Brad Matthews (Office of Mrs Kelly) 0409 613 265/ 07 4957 6411

Commonwealth of Australia