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Media Release

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

REBIRTH FOR A TOP END SENTINEL


21 July 1998

The Darwin Suburb most drastically destroyed by Cyclone Tracey just after 3am on Christmas Day, 1974 - Casuarina - is the new home for the Bureau of Meteorology's Northern Territory Regional Office.

Senator Ian Macdonald, Parliamentary Secretary for the Bureau of Meteorology opened the new northern office today (Tuesday)which is less than five kilometres from where Cyclone Tracy crossed the coastline and about 15 kilometres north of the Darwin city centre.

"The office has been in Darwin at AANT House for 24 years overlooking the capital's airport and harbour and is now located at Scatuicchio Street Casuarina.

"The most visible role of Bureau staff in Darwin is the public weather service which includes the provision of cyclone and flood warnings as well as daily weather forecasts.

"The provision of flood advice is increasing in importance and in January this year the Bureau was able to offer advance notice of flood rainfall in the Katherine River catchment to authorities," Senator Macdonald said.

Bureau staff had an important role to play in ensuring that all Territorians continue to have access to the weather and climate services, essential for their safety and general well-being.

The Northern Territory Regional Office is also involved in weather and climate. monitoring and forecasting across a wide area of South-East Asia and the western Pacific. The office is a Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre for the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and also operates a Tropical Meteorological Research Station - the only permanent facility of its kind in Australia.

"The Office is a tropical centre of expertise with responsibility for the development of numerical weather predictions in the tropics, climate monitoring - particularly of El Nino - and the provision of services to international marine and aviation operators," Senator Macdonald said.

After ash from a volcano in Java in 1982 disabled two Boeing 747's resulting in the complete loss of power to their engines and their emergency landing in Jakarta, a Volcanic Ash Advisory Service was established in the Darwin Regional Office.

"The Volcanic Ash Advisory Service - established under the auspices of the WMO and the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) - is used by international aircraft operating through Indonesia, the southern Philippines and Papua New Guinea," Senator Mcdonald said.

Ends
21 July 1998

For further information, contact:
Phil Connole (Senator Ian Macdonald's Office) (07) 4771 3066 or 0417 063 605

Commonwealth of Australia