LETTER: Tennant Creek radar shut-down puts lives at risk

Sir,- We, the  Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association, have questioned the Federal Government over its decision to shut down the Bureau of Meteorology in Tennant Creek and along with it, the weather radar.
It was truly extraordinary that the Government had made the decision to shut down the radar with absolutely no discussion with the people in the region and no idea of the risks to life, and safety of families in the region.
Radar is an integral part of management and safety for the Barkly region, allowing the monitoring of storms and weather events in real time.  The distances are enormous and each cattle station in the region covers many thousands of square kilometers. Radar is a vital planning and response tool for medical evacuations, daily operations, aviation and road transport, in a region where roads are unsealed and quickly impassable after rain.
This decision puts lives at risk, as well as significantly reducing our productivity.
This is cost-saving gone mad and a decision the outback cattle industry and wider community cannot afford.  We are trying to recover from the live cattle ban and now we cop another hit without warning.

It looks like a decision made from a well lit, safe and air-conditioned departmental office in Canberra, far removed from the lives and livelihoods of remote Australian families.  This needs to be fixed and the solution is to keep the radar operating.
The radar doesn’t need to be manned, it simply needs to be periodically maintained and at minimal cost this should be a very easy decision to reverse.
David Warriner,

President

Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association. Tel 0417 642 076.

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