Calls for Prime Minister to weigh in on BOM staff issue

IN HIS fight against the decision to cut on-ground Bureau of Meteorology staff in Mackay and Townsville, Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen has raised the issue with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Mr Christensen previously wrote an open letter to Environment Minister Greg Hunt calling on him to overturn the decision.

"I was informed (yesterday) morning that this decision to take away all of our on-ground weather monitoring staff from Mackay and Townsville, as well as other centres, was made by the management of the Bureau of Meteorology, rather than Environment Minister Greg Hunt's office," Mr Christensen said yesterday.

"Regardless of who made the decision, I am seeking to have it reversed."

Mr Christensen said he would continue to push for on-ground services to be retained in Mackay and Townsville.

The Member for Dawson labelled the move as "potentially dangerous".

"For a region like ours, which faces extreme weather events like cyclones on a far too regular basis, it seems reckless," he added.

A BOM spokeswoman said forecasting and warning services would not be affected, and in many instances would benefit from the availability of more timely information on current conditions.

Mackay will be among 24 field offices to be fully automated over the next five years. Proposed de-staffing in this region was expected to take place in 2016/17, the spokeswoman said.

New program

 Automated systems provide communities with real-time access to weather observations on a 24-hour basis.

 Surface conditions such as temperature, rainfall, humidity and wind can now be accurately monitored continuously; atmospheric conditions can be monitored twice daily

 Wind profiles through to altitudes of around 10 kilometres can be monitored continuously using vertical-facing radars.



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