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Bureau of Meteorology in the dark on water plan

"Evidence emerged yesterday that yet another government agency was dropped in it by the lack of consultation and attention to detail of the PM's water plan," said Senator Siewert today.

Senate Estimates revealed late yesterday evening that the Bureau of Meteorology was not consulted about the tasks assigned to it in the PM's National Plan for Water Security.

"This is a new role but they were not asked what was needed to develop this capacity."

"It is not appropriate to have a Prime Minister making far-reaching decisions on complex issues and throwing around billions of dollars without doing some basic checking of the facts," said Senator Siewert.

$480 M over 10 years has been allocated to BoM for the task of providing a national capacity for water data and forecasting services using common systems and standards, but the Bureau cannot explain where the figures came from and does not yet know if it has sufficient resources and capacity to meet the vague targets set in the plan.

"Money has been allocated to the states to upgrade their monitoring capacity, but there was no audit done of what is needed and no consultation with the states about how they might perform their new role," said Senator Siewert.

"Predicting and monitoring the impacts of a drying climate on the nation's agricultural heartland is absolutely crucial in mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change," concluded Senator Siewert.

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