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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 Deputy Prime Minister
Federal Member for Dawson

20 March 2006

New meteorological office at Mackay up and running

The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, and the Hon De-Anne Kelly MP, Federal Member for Dawson, today announced that the Bureau of Meteorology was now operating from its new purpose built facility at Mt Bassett at Mackay.

"The new state of the art centre includes a new weather radar that replaces the one the Mackay office has had in operation since 1971, Mr Hunt said.

"The new radar will provide meteorologists with more detailed imagery showing the intensity, location and movement of rainfall, enabling them to more closely monitor weather patterns.

"It will also be used to track weather balloons to measure conditions in the upper atmosphere.

"I would like to congratulate De-Anne on her commitment to seeing the new Bureau of Meteorology office realised."

Mrs Kelly said the new office would provide an important boost for local weather services.

"Mackay is in the heart of a tropical cyclone region and the new office demonstrates the Government's continuing commitment to the provision of accurate forewarnings of cyclones and severe weather conditions to the region's communities.

"With cyclone Larry currently lashing the North Queensland coast it is clear these sorts of facilities are an extremely important asset to not just Mackay but to North Queensland.

"The new weather radar will make it easy for the public to track the progress of a cyclone through the Bureau of Meteorology's website and we hope that by having the technology more accessible loss of property and life is prevented in severe weather," Mrs Kelly said.

Mrs Kelly said the Bureau of Meteorology transferred its operations to the new centre on March 3 and the building will be officially opened on April 20.

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.

Imagery from the Bureau's network of weather radars, along with observations from the new office, is freely available on the Bureau web site, consistently one of Australia's most frequently accessed websites.

Media Contact:
Kristy McSweeney (Mr Hunt's Office) 0415 740 722
Brad Matthews (Mrs Kelly's Office) 0409 613 265

Commonwealth of Australia