The Senate has today passed the Meteorology Amendment (Online Advertising) Bill 2014, providing the Bureau of Meteorology with greater certainty to accept commercial advertising, and to prevent the display of inappropriate types of advertising on its website.

“The Government wanted to ensure the powers of the Bureau’s Director included the authority to accept paid advertising and to determine the types of advertising displayed on the Bureau’s website,” said Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment.

“The Bureau has trialled paid advertising on its website since April 2013, following a recommendation of the Munro Review in 2011 which identified that demand for the Bureau’s services would continue to grow,” Senator Birmingham said.

“With 512 million visits last year the Bureau of Meteorology website is one of the most popular websites in Australia, as well as being the number one government site, and the number one site for weather information.

“Online advertising has been identified as a potential revenue stream to assist the Bureau to meet increasing demands on their services.

“Our Government is already funding additional frontline forecasting staff and in the budget this year committed to a significant new investment to dramatically improve supercomputing capabilities for the Bureau.

“The Meteorology Amendment Bill ensures the Bureau’s Director has the power to not only accept paid advertising but also to prohibit advertising considered not to be in the Commonwealth’s or the Bureau’s interest.

“The Bureau will develop and publish guidelines on the types of advertising the Bureau will display, ensuring the agency can act with certainty when making decisions in relation to advertising.”