Bureau of Meteorology boss apologises for rebrand attempt

The chief of the Bureau of Meteorology has apologised for the organisation‘s botched attempt to rebrand amid a flood crisis.

BOM chief executive Andrew Johnson told estimates at the Senate, Environment and Communications Legislation Committee the move was an attempt to be more consistent with how the public sees the bureau.

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

Camera IconAndrew Johnson said inconsistency with how the organisation is referred to has confused parts of the community. Nikki Davis-Jones Credit: News Corp Australia

“Like any large organisation, there are times we don’t get it right.

“Recent media commentary is an example of this,” he said, before adding the move does not reflect the work the BOM does.

According to the organisation‘s research, 81 per cent of people were familiar with the organisation’s full name, 60 per cent were familiar with “BOM” and just 15 per cent knew ”the Bureau”.

Dr Johnson said the bureau had “been on a journey over the past five years” and regularly undertakes research on community expectations and perceptions of the BOM.

BOM meteorologists and representatives regularly provide safety updates to the community during severe weather events.
Camera IconBOM meteorologists and representatives regularly provide safety updates to the community during severe weather events. Credit: News Corp Australia

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

“That inconsistency can be confusing for some members of the community, particularly older Australians, immigrants and linguistically diverse Australians.”

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

“All we‘ve done is ask media outlets to refer to us as the Bureau of Meteorology and the ‘Bureau’ from then on.

“We have not changed the name of the Bureau of Meteorology; we have simply asked media outlets to consistently call us that.”

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

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

Camera IconBOM scientists work with state governments and emergency services during 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 opening address.

He then went on to say there had been “ill-informed and inaccurate commentary” surrounding the Bureau‘s approach to climate change,

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

“The bureau largely focuses on the weather, on phenomena that goes from weeks to months,” he said.

“Our colleagues at the CSIRO focus on phenomena that goes from months to years.”

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