A petition to cancel Sydney’s famous New Year’s Eve fireworks and use the money to fight bushfires ringing the city has topped 260,000 signatures, but officials say the show will go on.
Sydney is spending Aus$6.5 million on this year’s fireworks display — funds that the Change.org petition argues would be better spent on supporting volunteer firefighters and farmers suffering through a brutal drought.
The massive fireworks display on Sydney Harbour “may traumatise some people”, the petition says, “as there is enough smoke in the air.
Toxic smoke haze from bushfires raging across Australia has blanketed Sydney and other major cities for weeks.
Entire towns have been left in ruins by devastating blazes in worst-hit New South Wales (NSW) state, where eight people have died and an area the size of Belgium burnt to cinders.
A City of Sydney spokesman said while they “appreciate the concerns” of the people opposed to holding the fireworks during a bushfire crisis, cancelling the celebration would have “little practical benefit for affected communities”.
Sydney’s council added that it has donated Aus$620,000 to support the bushfire and drought response and would also promote a Red Cross disaster relief fund during the televised fireworks broadcast.
A heatwave is due to sweep across parts of NSW in the coming days, with deteriorating bushfire conditions expected to hit Tuesday.
Read more via Sydney Morning Herald