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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

30 June 2006

The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary with ministerial responsibility for the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, said today that data from the Bureau confirmed that many parts of Australia recorded their driest and coldest temperatures for decades - and in the case of Western Australia and the Northern Territory, set new lows for rainfall and the coldest minimum.

"In terms of rainfall, the southwest of WA has been especially hard hit with most areas west of a line running from Carnarvon to Kalgoorlie, then to Perth and down to Albany having their driest June on record.

'The South West of Western Australia recorded its lowest monthly rainfall of 30mm which was the lowest in this part of Australia since the 2001 figure of 37.8mm. This trend was replicated right across Western Australia with the average rainfall for the state totalling 3.8mm - the previous lowest being 5.9mm in 1976.

"These very low June totals in the southwest followed a very dry autumn for southern Australia. April to June was the fourth driest on record, with only 1902, 1976 and 1972 being drier.

"Strong high pressure systems have dominated the weather patterns across Australia for two months, with the associated cold and dry air, light winds and clear skies producing widespread frosts, especially during June.

"Over the southern half of the country, the April to June period was the coldest on record (since 1950) for overnight temperatures, while the month of June was the second coldest.

Mr Hunt said Victoria also experienced some record low temperatures and rainfalls.

"Victoria suffered through its second lowest June temperatures since 1972with temperatures for this month -2.11 below the average. The town of Benalla recorded an all time extreme minimum temperature low of -4.5C on 14 June, the previous lowest being -4.4C in 1965.

"The rainfall figures across Victoria are the third lowest on record since 1900 and the lowest in the last 90 years. The average rainfall was only 22.0mm which is barely above the lowest figure ever recorded of 21.6mm in 1914.

"The Northern Territory also recorded its coldest nights since 1950 with the minimum temperature dropping 2.50 below average - the previous coolest occurred in 1977 when the temperature dropped -2.30 below the June average."

Media contact:
Kristy McSweeney (Mr Hunt's office) 0415 740 722

Commonwealth of Australia