Rockhampton-based Senator Matt Canavan says he will fight to keep Bureau of Meteorology staff in regional centres.
This follows revelations the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) plans to remove all staff from every BOM office in Queensland except Brisbane and Cairns.
Within five years, the Bureau would replace people in seven of its nine Queensland offices with automated monitoring equipment, “consolidating” its staff to the far south and far north of the State.
“I am concerned at the loss of local knowledge and capabilities that will occur when people are moved out of regional centres,” Senator Canavan said today. “I don’t share the Bureau’s view that computers provide an equivalent service to people.
“Judging from the calls being received in my office and the comments being made to me directly, a lot of other people in Queensland share my view.”
Senator Canavan said BOM planned to de-staff five offices within 18 months – in Mackay, Weipa, Mt Isa, Longreach and Charleville – and two more within five years – Rockhampton and Townsville.
“I think what affected communities should be doing now is making their feelings known to Environment Minister Greg Hunt, who is responsible for the Bureau, and asking that the Bureau’s decision be reversed.
“There is still time for the Bureau to re-think and reverse its plans.
“Let’s keep BOM staff in regional centres where they are now. By all means let’s give them extra capabilities with improved monitoring equipment but computers should be assisting human staff in regional Queensland, not replacing them.”
Senator Canavan raised his concerns when questioning BOM CEO Dr Robert Vertessy during Senate Estimates hearings in Canberra yesterday. Relevant vision & audio from the hearing is available via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIBa9_HVPgk&feature=youtu.be