Bureau of Meteorology boss apologizes for attempted rebrand

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The head of the Bureau of Meteorology has apologized for the organization’s botched attempt to change its name amid a flood crisis.

BOM chief executive Andrew Johnson told the Senate Legislation, Environment and Communications Committee Estimates that the move was an attempt to be more consistent with how the public views the office.

“I sincerely apologize if this comment has caused confusion in the community; it was not our intention,” he said.

Camera iconAndrew Johnson said the inconsistency with how the organization is named has confused some parts of the community. Nikki Davis Jones Credit: News Corp Australia

“Like any great organization, there are times when we don’t do things right.

“Recent media comments are an example of that,” he said, adding that the decision does not reflect the work done by BOM.

According to the organization’s research, 81% of people knew the full name of the organization, 60% knew “BOM” and only 15% knew “the Bureau”.

Dr Johnson said the office had “taken a journey over the past five years” and regularly undertakes research into community expectations and perceptions of the BOM.

Meteorologists and BOM representatives provide regular safety updates to the community during severe weather events.
Camera iconMeteorologists and BOM representatives provide regular safety updates to the community during severe weather events. Credit: News Corp Australia

“Our name and what we refer to varies a lot, with at least four different names being used across the country,” he said.

“This inconsistency may be confusing to some members of the community, particularly older Australians, immigrants and Australians of various languages.”

The move was an attempt to “provide clear and consistent messages to the community”, according to Dr Johnson.

“All we did was have the media call us the Bureau of Meteorology and the ‘Bureau’ from then on.

“We haven’t changed the name of the Bureau of Meteorology; we simply asked the media to systematically call us that.

The research into the Office has been undertaken over the past two years, with Dr Johnson saying the organization has “listened loud and clear” to what the community has been telling it.

He also addressed concerns about culture within the Office, including allegations that staff have been pressured to downplay the effects of climate change when speaking to the media.

PREMIER FLOODS PRESSER
Camera iconBOM scientists work with state governments and emergency services in times of crisis. NewsWire / Monique Harmer Credit: News Corp Australia

“We take all workplace issues seriously; we are committed to providing a safe and productive workplace,” Dr. Johnson said in his keynote address.

He then went on to say that there had been “misinformed and inaccurate commentary” surrounding the Bureau’s approach to climate change,

He argued that although climate change “is real”, CSIRO and universities were better placed to provide information to the media due to the nature of their research.

“The bureau is very much focused on weather, on phenomena that go from weeks to months,” he said.

“Our colleagues at CSIRO focus on phenomena that last months to years.”

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