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Wednesday, 24 October 1956

Mr FAIRHALL (PATERSON, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for the Interior) - The radar network on the Queensland coast is not yet completed. There are radar storm warning centres at Eagle Farm and Townsville. Two others are planned for Gladstone and Mackay. It should be kept in mind that the radar system is used to spy out storm centres at some distance, and in order to provide a warning for residents of Cairns, for example, in which district I know the honorable member is interested, it is not necessary to have a radar centre located there. As a matter of fact, all these radar stations are very closely linked together. The information emanating from them is co-ordinated in Brisbane, together with information coming in from Willis Island and other Pacific islands. Therefore, in general terms we are able to give quite a reasonable storm warning for the whole of the Queensland coast. There are very special difficulties associated with the establishment of a radar storm warning centre at Cairns. They are mainly bound up with the mountainous topography of the area. It would be necessary lo provide a station at Green Island, and unfortunately this would cost £40,000 or £50,000. The money available for this kind of work, as I am sure honorable members will appreciate, is not unlimited. In order to indicate, however, the extent of our concern with this problem, I may tell the honorable member that during next December a tropical cyclone symposium will be held in Brisbane, and we have invited quite a number of overseas experts in this subject to attend. No fewer than eleven countries will be sending their top experts.

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