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

22 March 2006

Sydney's 'weather window' for television

The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology today officially opened the new 'weather window' television studio at the Bureau of Meteorology's NSW Regional Office in Sydney.

"These broadcasts will be a significant step up in Bureau services and add another dimension to the Bureau's urgent weather warnings sent via television to communities under threat from thunderstorms, bushfires and more widespread damaging winds and floods," Mr Hunt said.

Mr Hunt opened the new studio ahead of tomorrows World Meteorological Day celebrations.

"The theme for World Meteorological Day 2006 is 'Preventing and Mitigating Natural Disasters' and this new studio will certainly make it easier and faster for television stations to update threatened communities on the status of severe weather conditions, Mr Hunt said.

"A digital fibre optic link will allow use of a fixed camera in the new studio for live crosses direct to forecasters at short notice, with the Bureau's Sydney Regional Forecasting Centre as the backdrop.

"It will also facilitate transmission of high quality graphics containing the latest weather imagery.

"Ultimately, the new studio may help prevent loss of life and property."

Mr Hunt said television news and technical staff had worked with the Bureau to design the $60,000 studio. It includes a camera, lights and audio equipment, and a fibre optic communication link. During severe weather the studio will be open from early morning until late evening. It will also minimise disruptions to operational forecasting.

The opening ceremony will include the Director of the US National Weather Service, Brigadier-General DL Johnson, who is currently visiting Australia, as well as Media and Emergency Services representatives. General Johnson will outline the vital role of TV in broadcasting warnings during Hurricane Katrina last year.

Media Contact:
Kristy McSweeney (Mr Hunt's Office) 0415 740 722

Commonwealth of Australia