'Staffing issue' at BoM caused late cyclone warnings: MP
A NORTH Queensland politician has blasted the Bureau of Meteorology for issuing a "late" cyclone warning and called for a warning centre to be based in North Queensland.
The bureau told him it had been short staffed and that there had been a 'significant change' in forecast policy.
But Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan, whose electorate was battered by Tropical Cyclone Debbie 12 months ago, said, "Clearly there is a staffing issue that needs to be bought out into the open".
On Easter Monday a release of the scheduled track map and severe weather warning were due out at 11pm but the information bulletin didn't come out until 11.42pm, the forecast track map at 11.53pm and the severe weather warning, "well it couldn't have been too severe because it came out after midnight".
Wind picking up significantly at Mackay Harbour as conditions continue to deteriorate. @daily_mercury #dailymercury #mackay #TCIris #cycloneiris #Iris #cyclone #mackayweather #mackayweathernews pic.twitter.com/l6t4BjMfjr— Daniel McKenzie (@dancmac) April 3, 2018
Mr Costigan said he raised the issue with the BoM regional director Bruce Gunn and expressed his "disgust".
"He accepted the criticism and he told me that they had one person on doing all those three jobs on Easter Monday," he said. "One person on a Monday night with a cyclone off the Queensland coast and they serve up crap like that."
In 2016 the BoM laid off more than 30 employees in 24 regional stations.
Mr Costigan questioned the centralisation of BoM offices and employees in Brisbane and suggested the establishment of a cyclone warning centre in regional Queensland.
"They have got one in Perth, they have got one in Darwin and they have one in Brisbane, why don't we have one in North Queensland?"
Since its inception the bureau has been a trusted source of emergency information, but with recent failures, Mr Costigan said, "People have lost faith in the weather bureau".
Dawson MP George Christensen also took to social media to voice his opinion.
Via Twitter yesterday, the Bureau also said there had been "a significant change in forecast policy" about 11pm.