The Australian Tsunami Warning System

11 May 2005


Travel-time contours for the Boxing Day tsunami. © Geoscience Australia

Travel-time contours for the
Boxing Day tsunami.
© Geoscience Australia

In the 2005-2006 Federal Budget handed down on 10 May 2005, the Government announced an important new initiative that will have a significant impact on Geoscience Australia.

The initiative is the Australian Tsunami Warning System. It will contribute to an Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System (IOTWS) and integrate with the existing Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre to facilitate warnings to the South West Pacific region.

The Government has allocated $68.9 million for the system over a four year period. Geoscience Australia and the Bureau of Meteorology will jointly operate the system around-the-clock, and Emergency Management Australia will handle the public awareness and disaster response aspects of the system.

Geoscience Australia's share of the $68.9 million is $21.2 million, the Bureau of Meteorology's share is $40.3 million, and Emergency Management Australia's share is $7.2 million. AusAid will also be providing $2 million each to Geoscience Australia and the Bureau of Meteorology for overseas technical assistance and training to build in-country capacity.

Geoscience Australia's $21.2 million is for the updating of Australia's seismic monitoring capability, and the development of an around-the-clock operations and analysis centre. The Bureau of Meteorology's $40.3 million is for new and upgraded sea-level gauges and Deep-Ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART) buoys, and for the enhancement of their around-the-clock operations and analysis centre. Emergency Management Australia's $7.2 million is for public and institutional awareness education and training.

The purpose of the Australian Tsunami Warning System is to:

  • reduce loss of life in the event of a tsunami affecting the Australian coast;
  • mitigate tsunami risks for operations at sea and in coastal waters, and;
  • reduce the impact of tsunamis on essential infrastructure in our coastal regions.
Click here for a larger diagram showing location of the Sumatra earthquake. © Geoscience Australia

Click here for a larger
diagram showing
location of the
Sumatra earthquake.
© Geoscience Australia

The initiative will also allow Australia to continue to play a leading diplomatic, scientific and technical role in international efforts to establish a durable and effective Indian Ocean tsunami warning system. It also demonstrates the Australian Government's strong commitment to assist our Pacific Island neighbours address their tsunami threat.

Joint media release by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alexander Downer, and the Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock: National Tsunami Warning System.

Topic contact: media@ga.gov.au Last updated: October 4, 2013