Questions have arisen as to whether the traditional New Year’s Eve firework display over Sydney harbour should go ahead this year in light of the recent fire and drought devastation that has ravaged much of New South Wales and Queensland. In the last week, we have seen over three times the amount of land burned in fires up and down the east coast of Australia than was witnessed in our entire fire season last year, placing unfounded strain on our rural fire services and leaving destruction in their wake.
In light of this tragic time in our country, a petition has been started on popular activism website change.org, calling for the funds that are to be used in Sydney harbour’s iconic New Year’s celebrations to instead be donated to our rural fire and drought services.
The petition, created by Kayla Neale, reads:
“With Australia facing drought and catastrophic fires, decimating towns as it tears across our country, the thought of spending MILLIONS of dollars on a firework display when it could be used to support and rebuild our country instead is infuriating … It’s times like these when we as a nation need to look at our priorities and I believe the new year should be welcomed in the Aussie way; by giving our fellow Australians a helping hand.”
It is reported that last year’s display ran for a whopping 12 minutes and included 500kg more explosives than the year beforehand, leading punters to believe that the money used to fund such an extravagant display would be better put to use elsewhere. The petition insofar has had a resounding response, at this time of publication having garnered over 17,000 signatures.
The surmounting recognition of the petition also comes in off of the heels of further backlash against the Sydney City Council, as they were put on blast by members of the community last week for moving ahead with a fireworks display over Sydney harbour despite a total fire ban being in place. The NSW RFS also weighed in on this situation, claiming that the display had gone forward legally.
However, whilst the petition has received much positive backing, it has yet to be formally acknowledged by officials. The petition reportedly calls for Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison to heed action in acknowledging that these funds could be put to better use. This may be but a pipe dream though, as it is reported that while the show may have cost $5.8 million to run, organisers have also claimed that it brings in approximately $133 million for the economy.
This would not be the first time that a major city has ceased it’s extravagant New Years celebrations in light of a larger cause. In 2015, Paris chose to herald in the new year with an “atmosphere of sobriety” to acknowledge the terror attacks that had taken place in the city the month beforehand.
Featured Image Source: City of Sydney