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A SILVAN weather station that has sat idle for six years will finally be switched on.
It cost $15,000 to install and was designed to provide Silvan farmers with the latest weather information. But that was six years ago at the Wandin-Silvan Field Days in 2006 and the community has been waiting ever since.
Check out live data from the weather station or click the photos for a larger view.
Farmers have been campaigning hard to get it working and the Liberals took up their cause before 2010’s election. Now the State Government has honoured its pre-election promise to get it up and running.
Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh said the Government would start up the weather station as soon as possible and blamed the former Labor government for the delay. “Taxpayers’ money was spent, the station was built, but it was never switched on,” Mr Walsh said.
He said the Department of Primary Industries would bring the station back to working order, hand ownership back to the community and provide $6000 over the next three years to help deliver data to local farmers.
When asked why it had taken more than a year to plan the start-up of the weather station, Mr Walsh said it was important to ensure the handover of the station was done properly so the community could be confident about its continued management and data delivery.
Member for Eastern Victoria Ed O’Donohue congratulated the Wandin-Silvan Field Days’ committee and farmers for campaigning for the station to be working. Silvan berry farmer Mark Chapman said the delay had frustrated him and having the weather station would be of great benefit.
The nearest stations are in Yarra Glen and Mt Dandenong and cannot provide relevant weather details to Silvan and Monbulk farmers. Labor opposition spokesman for agriculture John Lenders did not know why his government failed to turn the station on.
But Mr Lenders said there were bigger issues in the Yarra Ranges that Mr Walsh needed to address, including an increase in water prices. “Congratulations, he’s delivered (an election promise), but I think there are many bigger issues in the shire where he is causing pain, that he should be talking about,” Mr. Lenders said.
Re: Lilydale & Yarra Valley Leader Newspaper 8th May ‘12