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Thursday, 13 September 2018
Page: 6324

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Senator McKIM (Tasmania) (12:28): I wish to inform the chamber that Senators Whish» - «Wilson» , Bilyk, Brown, Polley, Singh and Urquhart will also be sponsoring the motion. I, and also on behalf of Senators «Whish» - «Wilson» , Bilyk, Brown, Polley, Singh and Urquhart, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) that the Bureau of «Meteorology» intends to replace regional weather forecasting teams with a more centralised and automated model operating out of Melbourne and Brisbane,

(ii) that with a changing climate and more frequent extreme weather events, Australian regions need accurate localised weather forecasting services now more than ever before,

(iii) that this loss of localised weather forecasting and expertise will affect and concern many sectors, including emergency services, agriculture, fisheries and shipping,

(iv) for Tasmania, the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) has estimated this move will affect 15 to 20 specialist weather forecasting jobs,

(v) that Tasmania's local weather forecasters have provided critical local knowledge to Tasmanian residents, businesses and emergency services during extreme weather events, such as the Hobart floods and Dunalley bushfires,

(vi) the United Firefighters Union Tasmania has stated it is 'absolutely crucial to have local knowledge' during reduction burns and high fire danger periods, and

(vii) the CPSU Tasmanian union, which represents parks and forestry firefighters and the State Emergency Service, has stated it is 'stupid and short-sighted' to separate forecasters from crews on the ground; and

(b) calls on the Federal Government to ensure that the Bureau of «Meteorology abandons its plans to centralise forecasting services, and maintain the current levels of jobs, expertise and forecasting services in regional areas.