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Agency overview

Role and functions

The Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau) is Australia’s national weather, climate and water agency, providing a wide range of products and services to support informed decision-making by governments, emergency services, industry and the community.

The Bureau’s products and services include a range of observations, forecasts, warnings, analyses and advice covering Australia’s atmosphere, water, ocean and space environments. Its expertise and services assist Australians to manage and live within their natural environment.

The Bureau is one of the few organisations in Australia that touches the lives of all Australians every day. Since 1908, the Bureau has proudly provided an extraordinary array of products and services that have contributed to economic prosperity, public safety and community well-being. The knowledge of, and insights into, Australia we have gained over this period are unique and irreplaceable. For more information on how the Bureau meets its obligations to the Australian community see the Corporate responsibility chapter.

Authority

The Bureau operates under the authority of the Meteorology Act 1955 and the Water Act 2007, which together provide the legal basis for its activities. The Bureau must also fulfil Australia’s international obligations under the Convention of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and related international meteorological treaties and agreements.

The Bureau is an Executive Agency under the Public Service Act 1999 and a non-corporate Commonwealth entity under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). Under the Public Service Act, the Director of Meteorology has the powers and responsibilities of an agency head.

As at 30 June, the Director of Meteorology reported to the Minister for the Environment, the Hon. Sussan Ley MP, on all general matters and to the Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management, the Hon. David Littleproud MP, on water-related matters ​.

AuthorityThe Bureau operates under the authority of the Meteorology Act 1955 and the Water Act 2007, reporting to the Minister for the Environment, and to the Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management, respectively The Bureau is an Executive Agency in the Environment and Energy Portfolio. At 30 June, the Bureau reported to the Minister for the Environment generally, and to the Minister for Water Resources, Drought, Rural Finance, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management on water-related matters.

Location

The Bureau’s services span the Australian region encompassing the mainland, Tasmania and Australia’s offshore islands and territories (including the Australian Antarctic Territory), and the surrounding oceans and seas (including the Indian, Pacific and Southern oceans). For some Bureau services the span is even greater. For example, the Bureau’s Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre is responsible for an area that includes the volcanically active regions of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the southern Philippines. As a partner in the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre, the Bureau provides threat information to National Tsunami Warning centres of other Indian Ocean countries.

Bureau staff are located across Australia, on remote islands and in Antarctica. The Bureau’s Victorian Office in Docklands, Melbourne, is a centre for administrative and operational activity, and provides overall national strategic planning, management and coordination of the Bureau’s services.

​ Location of Bureau staff Some locations have two or more offices.The location of Bureau State and Territory offices, field offices and other staffed observing facilities as at 30 June.

Organisational structure

For 2018–19, the Bureau was structured into six Groups. For more detail on the governance of the Bureau and an organisational chart, see the Corporate governance chapter.

Staff

As at 30 June, the Bureau employed 1425 ongoing and 183 non-ongoing staff. Many staff work around the clock to provide surveillance, forecast and warning services 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Detailed information on the Bureau’s staff and the management of human resources is provided in the People management chapter.

Values

In delivering products and services to its customers, Bureau staff individually and collectively uphold the Australian Public Service Values of impartiality, commitment to service, accountability, respectfulness and ethical conduct. These values guide our behaviours and how we treat our customers, our partners and each other. The following Bureau-specific values and behaviours determine what is important and bind us together as an organisation and as colleagues.

Safety

We are committed to actively improving the health and well-being of our people, and strive for zero harm.

Customer focus

We listen to our customers, understand their needs and are invested in their success. We strive to provide them with an outstanding experience. We are a pleasure to work with and can be relied upon to deliver.

Passion and tenacity

We are proud of our heritage, who we are, what we do and where we are headed. We deliver in times of crisis. Our deep commitment to our nation’s well-being drives our success.

Responsibility

We understand and accept our responsibilities. We learn from success and failure. We hold each other to account for our actions and results.

Humility

We are humble in our dealings with each other and our customers. We help each other and operate as one enterprise.

Integrity
Our integrity is founded on trust, honesty and reliability.

Our history

1906

The Bureau of Meteorology was established as the authority for providing meteorological services.

1908

The Bureau commenced operations as a national agency.

1945

Divisional offices were established in each State.

1950

Australia became one of the first members of the World Meteorological Organization.

1996

The Bureau’s first public website was launched.

2002

The Bureau became an Executive Agency.

2004

The responsibilities of Australia’s National Tidal Facility were brought within the Bureau.

2005

The Bureau was given a major role in operating the Australian Tsunami Warning System.

2007

The Bureau was given new responsibilities for water information under the Water Act 2007.

2008

The Bureau was given responsibility for space weather services.

2010

The Bureau was assigned a role in implementing the National Plan for Environmental Information.

2014

The Bureau began delivering information via social media and mobile platforms.

2016

The Bureau’s first weather app was released and downloaded 1 million times in less than six months.

Customers, partners and stakeholders

The Bureau works with a broad range of customers, partners and stakeholders across all sections of the community, and provides special services to an extensive range of federal, State and local government departments and agencies. These services support emergency management (including prevention, preparedness and response), agriculture, aviation, land and marine transport, energy and resources operations, climate policy, water management, defence and foreign affairs.

The Bureau’s weather, climate and water information supports business decisions across all manner of activities—from planting to harvesting, excavation to construction, and operational planning. Sector specific applications of the Bureau’s products and services are essential, and benefit all Australians.

Every day, millions of Australians use the Bureau’s information to help make decisions about activities that are affected by the weather, and in emergency situations, the Bureau’s services enable individuals, families, businesses and communities to make informed decisions about evacuating or preparing themselves for potential or imminent danger.

The national and international meteorological and scientific community is another vital partner, as
cooperation through sharing global weather observations and research efforts is an essential and
integral part of the Bureau’s operations.

Other Bureau stakeholders include government ministers and the parliament, the Australian science community, the media, staff and suppliers.

For information on engagement and outreach activities refer to the Corporate responsibility
chapter.

The Bureau's primary stakeholders Agriculture; Aviation, land and marine transport; Energy and resources; National security; Water - for more information see the Business Solutions Group chapter; Emergency services; Community and general public - for more information see the National Forecast Services Group chapter; Government and parliament - for more information see the Authority section above; Media and third party providers - for more information see the Corporate Services Group chapter; Staff - for more information see the People Management chapter; Suppliers - for more information see the Financial Resource Management chapter; Australian science community; and International meteorology community - for more information see the Science and Innovation Group chapter.