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New climate service delivers jobs and skills to North Queensland


Pictured above: Picnic Bay Jetty badly damaged during Cyclone Yasi weather event. Photo Debbie Denison


Townsville will gain new jobs and North Queensland will benefit from an enhanced Bureau of Meteorology presence following last week’s budget announcement establishing the Australian Climate Service (ACS).


The new service brings together experts from Australia's leading science and data agencies to help communities better prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters and to help them adapt and plan for changing climates.


Six new Bureau of Meteorology staff will be located in Townsville to directly support the weather and climate knowledge needs of the new National Recovery and Resilience Agency and Emergency Management Australia in north Queensland.


Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the new staff will also draw on the Bureau's Brisbane-based specialist forecasting capability to provide 24/7 on-ground support to Emergency Management Australia, local disaster management groups and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services during times of emergency.


“Before and after emergencies, the new staff will assist the National Recovery and Resilience Agency to build local preparedness and recovery capacity,” Minister Ley said.


“This builds on the Bureau’s North Queensland capability, with Cairns already the centre for a more than 15-person specialist technical hub.”


Member for Herbert, Phillip Thompson OAM MP, said the announcement was a direct result of feedback from the local community.


“This means six experts in their field, based right here in Townsville, helping us to prepare for, respond to and recover from floods and cyclones,” Mr Thompson said.


“This is something I have raised with the minister, so I’m very pleased we’ve been able to get such a positive result for our community.


“Everyone knows we have more than our fair share of natural disasters in the north, so it’s extremely important that we have the people on the ground with local knowledge, who can be physically present in those meetings where the critical decisions are made.”


Chief Executive Officer of the Bureau of Meteorology, Dr Andrew Johnson, said the Bureau is committed to supporting the safety and prosperity of Queensland communities.


"North Queenslanders deeply understand the effects of severe weather. They have seen firsthand the devastation caused by tropical cyclones, floods, fires and severe storms over the past few years.


"We know that while our climate is highly variable now, that variability is likely to increase into the future. We cannot stop disasters from happening, but preparation is the key to keeping our communities safer in the future.


"We know that there are always opportunities to better support communities during times of emergency. We also know that with better science and data we can better target our recovery and reconstruction activities to help families and businesses get up and going again faster."


The new Australian Climate Service is a partnership between the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, Geoscience Australia and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It will commence operations on 1 July 2021. Work to establish the presence in Townsville will take place over the coming months. For more details visit the Australian Climate Service website.

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