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Victory for weather services across northern Tasmania.

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Victory For Weather Services Across Northern Tasmania

Friday, February 20, 2004

Senator Guy Barnett today congratulated Parliamentary Secretary for Environment and Heritage Dr Sharman Stone and the Bureau of Meteorology for the decision to retain a staffed and substantially upgraded bureau in Launceston.

“I am delighted with this decision and I am proud to have played a part in it on behalf of the Tasmanian Liberal Senate Team. The Bureau will open a shop front in Launceston city where the current staff will operate from. I understand this is a first in Australia,” Senator Barnett said.

“The $350,000 upgrade of the equipment at Launceston will go ahead which means the Bureau will continue to have expert staff in Launceston with the most modern state-of-the-art equipment, and in a location far more accessible and visible to all stakeholders,” he said.

“I appreciate the feedback given to my office from stakeholder groups in recent days, because this surely helped in creating such a positive outcome today.

“I also look forward to the Bureau of Meteorology’s decision to prepare a public education kit on how the new and revamped station will benefit the public and how best to make use of the technical information,” he said.

Senator Barnett said he was assured that the upgrading of the weather monitoring and forecast services would provide a more comprehensive technical service for the farming and fishing community across Northern Tasmania.

“The upgrade will also greatly improve air safety and aviation services over Launceston and at Launceston Airport,” Senator Barnett said.

“The data from the upgraded station will assist with air quality research and forecasts in the Launceston region during winter to help combat Launceston’s winter smog problems,” he said.

Senator Barnett said the new service will mean more accurate and more detailed forecasts, with more data available for Northern Tasmanians to use in making important weather related decisions, while stakeholders will continue to have local access to bureau experts.

“The technology being installed at the Launceston Airport bureau by May will make it among the best in Australia, while it remains a staffed station,” he said.

The upgraded automatic weather station will comprise of more sophisticated instrumentation, reporting visibility and the height of cloud base overhead, as well as temperature, pressure, humidity, rainfall and wind speed and direction.

The wind profiler being installed will give virtually continuous coverage of wind speed and direction up to an 8 kilometre altitude - and this is more information than is currently available from once, or sometimes twice a day, balloon releases. The only other wind profiler installed in Australia is at Sydney airport.