Monday, December 30, 2019

Petition to Cancel Sydney's NYE Fireworks

Last year's New Year's Eve fireworks over Sydney Harbour in Sydney, Australia. Image credit: Dominic Lorrimer

At least 273,000 people have signed a petition calling for Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks to be cancelled and the money spent on firefighters, farmers and animal carers. 

Some A$5.8m ($4m; £3m) was reportedly spent on fireworks in Sydney last year, the petition says. 

Sydney's Lord Mayor Clover Moore (left) said she had "been moved by the outpouring of support and care for the community" but that the event would continue as planned. 

After all, it is claimed that the fireworks were planned 15 months in advance and most of the budget had already been spent. Cancelling would have little practical benefit for devastated communities, it was said. 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (left) backed the City of Sydney decision to go ahead with the fireworks display. 

"Sydney is one of the first cities in the world welcoming the New Year. If it is safe to do so, we should continue to do it as we have done every other year", Berejiklian explained. 

In any case, the Rural Fire Service had forecasted 'severe' fire danger for Greater Sydney on Tuesday and declared a total fire ban for the whole region. Not that it mattered because, according to The Sydney Morning Herald today, Sydney's NYE fireworks event received an exemption and will, therefore, proceed.

However, Australians who signed the petition said a firework display would be an "insult". 

"Australians all across the country need the money to rebuild their schools, their homes", said one person. "It's a matter of priority and this is where we show we care". 

Linda McCormick, who set up the page, said other communities in Australia were "cancelling fireworks and celebrating New Year in other ways".

Even Deputy Premier John Barilaro (right) had backed calls to ditch the fireworks. "[It's a] very easy decision", he said on Twitter. 

"The risk is too high and we must respect our exhausted RFS volunteers. If regional areas have had fireworks banned, then let's not have two classes of citizens. We're all in this crisis together".

The country has been grappling with furious bushfires due to record-breaking temperatures and severe drought. Already, the inferno is on Sydney’s doorstep – therefore, it’s best to forget about the fireworks. 

Be sensible. Be sensitive. Don’t squander millions on fireworks while the state burns. Don't make this a tasteless display of human excess. 

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