Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Adam Marshall turned the first ceremonial sod of soil at the airport to formally mark the start of construction, delivering on a key election commitment for regional NSW.
Mr Barilaro said the new radar in Brewarrina was the first of three Doppler radars coming to Western NSW, with the other two to be built in the Parkes and Hillston-Ivanhoe regions.
“This is a $24.5 million investment from the NSW Government to construct the three Doppler radars and remove the weather radar ‘blackspot’ covering all of Western NSW,” Mr Barilaro said.
“The radars will be able to detect rain drops, hail, bushfire plumes, rain intensity, and wind velocity – vastly improving real-time weather services for the community.
“At the moment there is a significant gap with Western NSW communities having limited access to real-time weather information, but I am thrilled that work to build this critical infrastructure has now begun.
“The radars will boost business efficiency by providing rainfall data as well as wind observations to regional communities and primary producers, arming them with critical information to base farm management decisions on.
“They will also protect lives, and help reduce damage from fires and floods by providing improved, vital information to emergency services.”
Mr Marshall said once the radars were complete, local farmers would have access to much more accurate weather data, allowing them to make the most of incoming rain and make better and more timely on-farm decisions.
“These radars will be a game-changer for agriculture in Western NSW, providing greater accuracy in measuring where water particles are in the sky, how fast they are moving and the potential power of an incoming storm,” Mr Marshall said.
“Experts will be able to pass on vital weather observations from up to 200 kilometres away, including towns as far as Cobar, Pilliga and over the Queensland border.
“Rain is the lifeblood of farming communities out west, so by giving them crucial data sooner, local producers will be able to make more informed decisions to improve crop yields and lower their input costs.
“These three new stations mean NSW will soon have eight Doppler radars and almost every corner of country NSW is covered, especially in Western NSW, which currently has no radar coverage.”
It is expected that the new Brewarrina Doppler radar will be operational by October 2020.
The radar will be part of a growing national network of more than 60 weather radars operated by the Australian Government’s Bureau of Meteorology.