During the last season of 2019, bush fires devastated several sectors of Australia and for this reason many citizens signed a petition to stop a fireworks festival this year and to use the money to calm the fires and help the affected places. However the mayor of Sydney defended the plan to light up the night sky with fireworks to celebrate the new year.
According to the New York Post article, 280 000 Australians signed a petition called “Say NO to NYE [New Year’s] Fireworks 2019” to direct funds towards helping the areas destroyed by the fires, especially the states of New South Wales and Victoria, where at least eleven people died.
Despite the situation, Sydney—the capital of New South Wales and one of Australia’s largest cities—welcomed 2020 with its traditional fireworks event.
— City of Sydney (@cityofsydney) December 31, 2019
One person wrote on Twitter: ” Honestly, I didn’t have an opinion before today. But today a lot of places I grew up around were burnt. My parents’ are without power, their town is cut off, and the southerly is blowing another fire toward them. A fireworks show feels like a huge slap in the face.”
Meanwhile another user said, ” This is absolutely disgusting with the continent burning to the ground.”
Sydney Mayor Clover Moore defended the event arguing that the New Year’s celebration would “give people hope,” reported BBC News.
“Many people have already flown in and paid for hotels and restaurants, traveling from all over the world to be here for tonight’s New Year’s Eve. It generates AU$130 million ($91m) for the NSW economy, powers our tourism industry, creates jobs, and supports countless small businesses,” she said at a press conference.
However, not all Australian legislators shared her perspective, for example New South Wales Deputy Prime Minister John Barilaro was one of those who called for the cancellation of Tuesday’s exhibition, saying it should be a “very easy decision.” But Moore responded that doing so “would have little practical benefit.”
The fireworks display at Parramatta Park was canceled by Sydney council on Monday. The mayor of this Sydney suburb, Bob Dwyer, argued, “Council was not granted an exemption to proceed with its fireworks display, due to the total fire ban in place and a range of associated risks including extreme temperatures, smoke, dust, and poor air quality,” Parramatta lord mayor he said.
The council said it would donate $10,000 to the NSW Regional Fire Service instead, according to BBC.
Other places joined in canceling their fireworks events like Wollongong, Maitland, Orange, Berry, Shoalhaven, Huskisson, Armidale, Port Macquarie, Liverpool, Campbelltown and Tweed Heads.