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Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment

Federal Budget 1997

Further Budget Support For the Met Bureau

13 May 1997

The Government has maintained its commitment to the rebuilding of the Bureau of Meteorology following the run-down of essential public weather and climate services by the previous government, Senator Ian Macdonald, Parliamentary Secretary for the Bureau of Meteorology, said today.

Last year the Government provided an additional $4.6 million to support the basic operations of the Bureau and to begin upgrading its climate networks and services. ‘I am pleased to announce that this funding is being maintained in 1997/98 as part of the Government’s strategy for ensuring the community receives the best possible service from the Bureau,’ Senator Macdonald said.

‘Since assuming responsibility for the Bureau of Meteorology late last year, I have been impressed by the professionalism and commitment of Bureau staff’, Senator Macdonald said, ‘and I have seen ample evidence of the importance that the public attributes to the Bureau’s services, especially in rural areas.’

The Government is strongly committed to the restoration of the Bureau and we intend to maintain and improve its vital public services, especially the Bureau’s important cyclone, flood, severe storm and fire weather warning services,’ Senator Macdonald said.

In commenting on the Government’s decision to maintain its funding of the Bureau’s basic operations and services, Senator Macdonald noted that the Bureau will also be increasing its revenue from the provision of specialised services to individual users by $0.6m in 1997/98. ‘While the public weather services will continue to be provided free to the community through the media, I believe it is entirely appropriate that individual users bear the cost of the specialised services provided to meet their specific needs,’ Senator Macdonald said.

I am at present considering the response to the recommendations of a recent review of the Bureau’s capacity to generate increased revenue from specialised services, carried out by Professor Ralph Slatyer in follow-up to his earlier review of the operation of the Bureau,’ Senator Macdonald said. ‘While much of the detailed follow-up will be a matter for the Bureau management, I accept the general thrust of Professor Slatyer’s report and believe it will assist the Bureau to improve its range of specialised services additional to those funded by Government and made widely available to the community.’

Some of the important initiatives that will continue under the Budget funding for 1997/98 include:

For further comment contact Mark Elliot (06) 277 3665

Commonwealth of Australia