Good fore­cast for city’s BOM staff

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY

THE Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy has con­firmed it will not make re­dun­dant or re­lo­cate three fore­cast­ers in its Townsville of­fice.

But five staff in­volved in ob­ser­va­tion op­er­a­tions will be of­fered re­lo­ca­tion at the end of the au­toma­tion pro­gram which is sched­uled for com­ple­tion in 2018- 19.

Those staff will be of­fered re­lo­ca­tion at any of the bureau’s eight ob­ser­va­tions hubs be­ing cre­ated in the seven cap­i­tal cities plus Cairns.

A BOM spokes­woman said three fore­cast­ers em­ployed at the of­fice would con­tinue to be based in Townsville and would not be re­quired to re­lo­cate.

“The es­tab­lish­ment and staffing of the Cairns hub will see a net in­crease of bureau staff in North Queens­land,” the spokes­woman said.

The Bul­letin re­ported on Satur­day of un­cer­tain­ties re­lat­ing to the fu­ture em­ploy­ment of fore­cast­ers af­ter the bureau re­fused to con­firm whether they would be re­de­ployed or made re­dun­dant when the of­fice was fully au­to­mated in 2018- 19.

In an email to Townsville Dis­trict Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Group mem­bers on Satur­day in re­sponse to the Bul­letin’s ar­ti­cle, BOM Queens­land state man­ager Bruce Gunn said: “Let me re­as­sure that the ( bureau) plans to re­tain a pres­ence of fore­caster staff in our Townsville of­fice for the fore­see­able fu­ture,” he said.

Herbert MP Cathy O’Toole said she would write to En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Josh Fry­den­berg to ex­press her con­cerns about staffing at Townsville’s BOM, and speak with the Shadow Min­istry when she re­turns to Can­berra this week.

Ms O’Toole said she would be “dis­gusted” and “con­cerned” if the city lost cru­cial weather per­son­nel within two years, par­tic­u­larly on the back of the state’s north be­ing hit by Cy­clone Deb­bie.

“What the Govern­ment needs to have a look at is our his­tory of cy­clones and both the valu­able and crit­i­cal role the BOM staff have played,” she said.

The bureau made a com­mit­ment 18 months ago that Townsville would “re­main un­af­fected” by changes as­so­ci­ated with its 24 re­gional of­fices be­ing “de- staffed”.

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