As Sydney’s Air Quality Plummets, Sydney NYE2019 Cancellation Petitions Skyrocket By 70,000 Signatures In 13 Hours To Reach 150,000. Sydney Lord Mayor Responds (Again)

Well, that escalated quickly.

In the past 12 hours, the petitions have gone from 81,000 signatures to 150,000 signatures – an increase of about 70,000 signatures.

This promoted the Lord Mayor of the City Of Sydney, Clover Moore, to respond again. She initially responded via social media when the petitions hit 10,000. You can read her response at the end of the article.

In her response, she confirms that the bushfire appeal will be promoted on the official broadcasts ensuring global promotion of the bushfire emergency and the Australian Red Cross’ Disaster Recovery & Relief Fund. She also confirms it will be promoted at the event on the night of New Year’s Eve as well as through marketing materials.

The petitions have likely escalated because of the air quality Sydney woke up to this morning. It is said to be “some of the worst air quality we’ve seen”. Quote from NSW Health Director of Environmental Health, Dr Richard Broome.

This means Sydneysiders from the City Of Sydney local government area are highly likely to be part of this 70,000 signature increase on the petitions.

The petitions we believe will warrant State Government attention if they reach 370,000 signatures. They are only 41% there currently.

If Sydney NYE was held today, well you wouldn’t be seeing much of the fireworks. This is the Sydney Harbour Bridge today. You can just see the northern pylons in the centre-lower-left of the photograph:

Shows air quality on 10th December 2019 by showing the Sydney Harbour Bridge from Milsons Point.
Photograph: Elisha Pearce/Australian Broadcasting Corporation

In 2001, the last time Sydney NYE faced a similar outrage (but not on this scale), the City Of Sydney stated the fireworks would go ahead if air quality is 10 times worse than normal. Normal, not ‘hazardous levels’.

However, air quality was up to 11 times hazardous levels today. Based on the current air quality index, hazardous is an index of 200. If we define ‘normal’ as the maximum for ‘good’ levels (That is, an index of 60), the fireworks would still go ahead at an index of 660, which is in the ‘hazardous’ level, the highest level, which has no maximum index limit.

But the air quality is a lot higher today than that. Up to 2200 around midday. That is really hazardous.

However, whilst air quality is currently the 2nd biggest concern to the event, it is too early to say whether it will affect the event. It will all come down to conditions on the day. The smoke may have cleared by then. However, the few days leading up to the event will give a good indicator of what it will be like.

Last Saturday, that night’s Darling Harbour fireworks , which are held weekly, were cancelled due to low visibility.

If you are a visitor for Sydney NYE & are concerned about air quality levels around NYE, you can sign up to an account to get air quality alerts via e-mail or SMS here or by reading the air quality forecast here on the 30th of December.

Again, we advise people who have brought tickets for Sydney NYE events to check their refund policies in the event the iconic fireworks are cancelled or postponed to Australia Day as the City Of Sydney is the official organiser providing the fireworks for free. Tickets are usually only refunded if the actual function you are attending is cancelled or below par – not if the fireworks are cancelled or below par. Pirrama Park Wharf is probably the only exception to this so far. People who have bought tickets in National Park areas especially should be cautious. Keep an eye on the news in the week before NYE for any bushfire-related updates.

The City Of Sydney will be addressing the air quality issue in regards to Sydney NYE later this week.

Change.org has been contacted for queries.

Disclaimer: Sydney Spectaculars is not associated with Sydney New Year’s Eve organisers, the City Of Sydney, nor Australia Day In Sydney organisers, NSW Government Department Of Premier & Cabinet. As of writing, the fireworks are still planned to go ahead.

This post updates.

Lord Mayor of the City Of Sydney, Clover Moore’s response (from Change.org):

Dear petition signers,

I have been moved by the outpouring of support and care the community has shown for those affected by the bushfires.

While we’ve seen some of the worst of extreme fire, we’ve also seen the best of humanity – NSW Rural Fire Service volunteers rushed to protect people and property, and communities have come together to look after each other.

And many, including you, have looked for ways governments can further support those doing it really tough at this time. I appreciate your calls to cancel our New Year’s Eve fireworks and reallocate the funding to bushfire relief.

I also share your deep sympathies and recently directed Council to donate over $600,000 to bushfire and drought relief, as well as sending our trucks and staff to help emergency services with clean-up and recovery efforts.

Our fireworks are planned 15 months in advance and most of the budget – which is largely allocated to crowd safety and cleaning measures – has already been spent. And with just weeks to go, many have already booked hotels and restaurants and planned their trip to watch the fireworks. This event generates $130 million for the state economy, which helps many people.

I know this isn’t exactly what you would like to be hearing from me, but we can’t cancel the fireworks and even if we could, doing so would have little practical benefit.

Over the last fortnight however we, as a Council, have been moved to do more.

We have committed to harnessing the enormous power of the event, which brings a million people together around our harbour, to raise more money for the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.

In all marketing materials, during the broadcast and on the night, we will be reminding those who visit our harbour and who watch at home to give generously.

The event will also support our existing charity partner, the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), as we commence 2020: The Year of Welcome.

The City’s fireworks will be carbon offset, and are biodegradable in order to reduce waste and environmental impact.

New Year’s Eve unites people from all over the world with a message of hope for the year to come. I’m glad that this event will do that while helping support those in need.

As we reflect on the tragic devastation of the bushfires, we have to acknowledge that successive Federal Governments have shamefully presided over a failed climate policies. Australia’s emissions have been going up since 2014 and these bushfires are just one of the recent extreme weather events made worse by catastrophic climate change

Earlier this year the City declared a Climate Emergency, calling on the Federal Government to reintroduce a price on carbon to meet the Paris Agreement emissions reduction targets, and establishing a Just Transition Authority to ensure Australians employed in fossil fuel industries find appropriate alternate employment.

We have also recently signed a contract to use 100% renewable electricity from July next year, and will reduce our emissions by 70% on 2006 levels by 2024, four years ahead of schedule.

As long as I am Lord Mayor I will lead a Council committed to taking real and meaningful climate action, and I will continue to push State and Federal Governments to do the same.

If you would like to donate to our bushfire appeal you can do so here:
https://www.redcross.org.au/campaigns/disaster-relief-and-recovery-bushfires and I would also encourage you to spend time on Change.org calling on the Federal Government to take urgent action on climate change.

Clover.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore, City of Sydney

Sydney Mega-Fire Accelerates Sydney NYE2019 Cancellation Petitions From 40,000 To 81,000 Signatures In 5 Days

Sydney NYE2019 had their media launch just in time.

2 days later, numerous bushfires broke out immediately north-west of Sydney, adding more sparks to the already large & deadly fires along the Great Dividing Range.

Within 48 hours, they combined to form a ‘mega-fire’ – a 60 kilometre fire front – the size of Sydney itself – which is currently in control.

Over these past 5 days, the resulting smoke has covered the city in it’s worst air quality ever.

It also accelerated petition signing on cancelling Sydney NYE2019 and shifting it’s funds to bushfire/drought recovery. The now largest petition (there are quite a few petitions) going from 40,000 signatures to 81,000 signatures in 5 days.

These petitions started in mid-November just before a corporate fireworks display in Farm Cove of Sydney Harbour was controversially exempted from a total fire ban on a day of high fire danger, during a state of emergency.

Those petitions initially accelerated to 10,000 signatures due to media coverage, before slowing down over the past few weeks.

Though the fires have been nearly non-stop since September in New South Wales, since mid-November, the worst fire danger period so far, there has been an unusually high number of calls in the community for the cancellation of fireworks displays in light of the bushfires & drought.

Subsequently, local government debates have broken out and many upcoming fireworks displays around the state have been cancelled including Darling Harbour’s weekly fireworks, which were cancelled twice in the past month. Once out of respect and the 2nd due to poor visibility. Some New Year’s Eve displays around the state have also been cancelled.

However, Sydney NYE2019 has not yet been cancelled. The show is still on.

On the 19th of November, the City Of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, announced a bushfire donation appeal as part of Sydney NYE2019, which was announced at the event’s media launch on the 3rd of December to be a promotion of the Australian Red Cross’ Disaster Relief & Recovery Fund.

However, this wasn’t the major feature of the media launch, which was held on a day slightly covered by bushfire smoke and a few days before the nearby ‘mega-fire’ was formed, so bushfire media coverage was lower than in mid-November, though still the main news story.

Currently, the Rural Fire Service are conducting backburning in anticipation of severe fire danger later today (Tuesday).

The City Of Sydney has been contacted for comment.

Analysis/Opinion

Petitions

Due to the nearby ‘mega-fire’ coinciding with this petition signing acceleration, this should indicate most of these new signatures are from Sydneysiders though not necessarily from the City Of Sydney local government area. There are 30 local government areas in Sydney.

Last month, we detailed some of the flaws of the largest petition. We also wrote an opinion piece after the controversial corporate fireworks display which details some other information on this situation.

Petitions calling for Sydney NYE’s cancellation are nothing new. There are a frequent occurrence but with the extreme fire danger over the past few months and the worst conditions yet to come over the next 3 months & high media interest, the possibility for controversy or cancellation is heightened for the rest of the year.

The Media Launch

At the upcoming edition’s media launch, the media’s focus was on the calls for cancellation & the City Of Sydney had a great chance to show they really care more about the bushfires instead of the party. However, whilst briefly pointing out the donations they’ve made & the bushfire appeal partnership they’ve set up, they didn’t take this opportunity instead putting the party front & centre. The City Of Sydney grasping the media launch’s opportunity to make the bushfire appeal front and centre of the event this year was completely missed with minimum coverage of the appeal but great coverage of the event & the calls for it’s cancellation.

This is evident as our article about Clover Moore’s social media announcement of a bushfire appeal on the 19th of November was significantly more read than any of the media releases published from the media launch, which was mostly a generic announcement (though it did contain some newsworthy information such as new fireworks & the ‘brightest beam in the Southern Hemisphere’). It should be pointed out the media didn’t include the Lord Mayor’s social media announcement in the news on the 20th of November. They only mentioned it during the media launch headlines on the 3rd of December.

The next major media event is not until after Boxing Day (26th of December). Who knows what the bushfires/public opinion will be like by then. Hopefully the bushfires are out by then but if they aren’t, hopefully the City Of Sydney respond better next time. It was at this event in 2004 that the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake & Tsunami NYE Appeal was launched (Mind you, that disaster happened 3 days prior). The lack of promotion at the media launch might have been an intentional move in the event the bushfires got worse & controversy grew stronger closer to the event so promoting the appeal closer to NYE would soften the controversy more and alert the public to the fund more as they are more attuned to the fast approaching NYE.

We’re not sure how the public will react if the City Of Sydney promote the fund more in late December. Will they be skeptical or thankful they are doing something? If the City Of Sydney puts a real effort in and also points out how much has been raised since the media launch or connected with the event, it may do well public relations-wise. A solid effort would include combining it with their official event broadcasts, which are mostly broadcast globally nowadays, plenty of promotion on the pylon projections and website (which there isn’t currently) as well as on the street with bucket gold coin collections and most importantly, reminders by the organisers & the Lord Mayor at the media events in the final week of 2019 as well as on New Year’s Day when hopefully we find out how much was raised.

Sydney NYE is a great opportunity to raise charitable funds if the effort is put in. $1.2 million was raised in 3 days in 2004 for the Indian Ocean Earthquake & Tsunami. Imagine how much can be raised in 2019 with 5 days worth of publicity. Now all the hard work will have to be done in the final week of the year.

It’s in the final week of the year we thought controversy would arise if extreme bushfires returned. We were wrong. The controversy broke out immediately and as the fires get worse, continue or get closer to Sydney, the stronger the controversy has gotten/will get.

Maybe the City Of Sydney made the right call by focusing on the party whilst responding to the petitions via the mass media for the 1st time at the media launch and possibly focusing mostly on the bushfire appeal in 2019’s final week?

In the end, the pressure for cancellation is now at it’s highest since 1986 and whilst that may be the case now, precedent has not yet been broken for another cancellation.

The precedent HOPEfully to not be broken

This will come on the 27th of December (A possible date for the next media event), where it could be determined whether the bushfires are worse than Black Christmas, which was held in the midst of the 2001 edition, which coincidentally had an appropriate theme – something this year’s edition doesn’t have at all.

Black Christmas had 300,000 hectares burnt, 121 homes lost and zero death toll. It should be noted the 1993/1994 Eastern Seaboard Fires were slightly worse particularly as they circled Sydney completely isolating it from the rest of the world. However, Sydney NYE was just still mostly a local event back in 1993, not the internationally renowned event it is now so less fuss was made back then. Most importantly, the deaths in the 1993/1994 Eastern Seaboard Fires happened after NYE as far as we are aware.

The current bushfires have been nearly non-stop since September, burnt 2 million hectares, over 700 homes and killed 6 people & have just started burning on Sydney’s doorstep. However, the death toll of Black Christmas is the only factor that will prevent a cancellation as simply, it was 0, thankfully. We will detail the death toll precedent below.

Cancellation scenarios

If they are still burning (and not a new separate series of fires) close to Sydney or worse on the 27th of December, there are 3 major things that could cancel it. The most likely is poor weather conditions on the night. Whether it is a high fire danger resulting in a revoking of a total fire ban exemption or poor visibility or simply strong winds or a combination of these. With the worst air quality ever in Sydney currently, the weather forecast would be the talk of the town that week. Based on 2001 conditions, air quality 10 times worse than normal at least will still allow the fireworks to go ahead. In the event of a total fire ban exemption revoking or poor air quality, we’d assume an announcement would be made well in advance if it is obvious it can’t be held. However, we believe they will try and keep the event on as much as possible so crowds can be managed better on the night (crowd crush & violence prevention, that is). We don’t need the night to get any worse.

If only strong winds arrive during the night, the fireworks could still be cancelled at the last minute though. This is an annual problem. In that event, the 9pm Family Fireworks could be postponed to a time no later than 10:30pm (or to Australia Day) while the Midnight Fireworks would be cancelled outright on the night but may also be postponed to Australia Day but not held at Midnight.

The 2nd but very unlikely thing for cancellation would be the bushfires’ death toll. The death toll, if the fires continue and the toll doesn’t change, is currently at 6. This, as sad as it is, wouldn’t justify cancellation.  Cancellation would only be considered if the death toll is dramatically high – higher than about 280 (0.003% of NSW population), which is higher than Black Saturday – Australia’s worst disaster. This is based on the precedent set in 2004 when the event was still held despite the recent international tragedy, the Indian Ocean Earthquake & Tsunami, which killed 227,898 people (0.003% of humanity).

The last but unlikely thing for cancellation is mounting political pressure. However, based on previous years, politicians won’t buckle unless the Rural Fire Service says no or the bushfires’ death toll is simply too high as stated above.

And obviously, while the event costs around $6 million (fireworks max $2 million), the event does return $133 million to the ‘local’ economy so to politicians, economically, the event is a good option to hold. It is also a carbon neutral event. The event can do more good than harm in regards to the bushfires. Lord Mayor Clover Moore, as stated earlier, has also announced a bushfire appeal, which would be publicised globally.

A dramatic death toll increase as stated above or the Rural Fire Service advising against the fireworks would be the main things for politicians’ to cancel the event. Another detail which will detail in the final section is the lack of appropriate theming this year to accommodate bushfires like it coincidentally did in 2001. It may be simply be seen too distasteful by year’s end to hold the world’s most iconic NYE party.

REALITY

In the end, it depends more closer to the event – that final week of 2019 –  if is suitable to host the event based on weather conditions and most importantly, the bushfires’ death toll (if the bushfires are still raging). The ‘party’ feel of this non-themed edition would be most awkward if bushfires are surrounding Sydney or another Black Saturday occurs. Cancellation may seem a suitable option simply out of respect. There isn’t a ‘country’ theme this year that can act as a gentle tribute, dedication or reminder of/to the firefighters and rural citizens. It’s now just party, party, party.

In the end, strong winds are still currently the greatest threat to Sydney NYE2019. Bushfires won’t be a concern to the City Of Sydney until just before Christmas Eve.

Again, we advise people who have brought tickets for Sydney NYE events to check their refund policies in the event the iconic fireworks are cancelled or postponed to Australia Day as the City Of Sydney is the official organiser providing the fireworks for free. Tickets are usually only refunded if the actual function you are attending is cancelled or below par – not if the fireworks are cancelled or below par. Pirrama Park Wharf is probably the only exception to this so far. People who have bought tickets in National Park areas especially should be cautious. Keep an eye on the news in the week before NYE for any bushfire-related updates.

This post updates.

Disclaimer: Sydney Spectaculars is not associated with Sydney New Year’s Eve organisers, the City Of Sydney, nor Australia Day In Sydney organisers, NSW Government Department Of Premier & Cabinet. As of writing, the fireworks are still planned to go ahead.

Sydney New Year’s Eve 2019 – Fireworks Facts & Stats

  • Sydney New Year’s Eve is one of the biggest annual celebrations in the world, attracting around over 1 million spectators to the Sydney Harbour foreshore & a global audience of more than 1 billion.
  • 2019 will be the biggest Sydney Harbour Bridge display ever, with the famous ‘coathanger’ arch illuminated with 1,100 extra firework special lighting effects.
  • Sydney New Year’s Eve is Australia’s biggest public event, featuring one of the largest and most technologically advanced fireworks displays in the world.Research by Destination NSW found the event contributes $133 million to the local economy.
  • It takes 15 months and more than 10,000 hours for over 1,000 accredited personnel and around 300 volunteers to plan and bring the celebrations to life.
  • The fireworks displays are designed by Sydney’s Foti International Fireworks. NYE19 marks the 23rd consecutive year that Foti International has created the fireworks show for the City of Sydney.
  • Over 5,000 hours go into preparing Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks displays
  • In 2019, the fireworks lighting up Sydney Harbour will include:
    • More than 8 tonnes of fireworks
    • 40,000 shooting ground based effects including comets, mines and crossettes
    • Over 13,000 shells
    • More than 100,000 individual pyrotechnic effects.
  • 18 shipping containers of equipment, weighing 120 tonnes, are needed for the night’s fireworks displays.
  • 6,000 fireworks cues will shoot from 178 firing locations on the Sydney Harbour Bridge with another 18,000 cues from the fireworks barges
  • This will be the 7th year that Foti Fireworks have used the Sydney Opera House as a firing location. There will be 850 fireworks set off from the sails of the Sydney Opera House.
  • The 9pm family fireworks will launch from 5 fireworks barges and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The midnight fireworks will launch from 7 barges on the harbour, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney OperaHouse.
  • A feature of the 9pm display is the winning entry from the ABC’s Design Your Own Firework competition, chosen in mid August. This year’s winner is Patrick from South Australia, aged 9.
  • The fireworks will be digitally launched by 18 computers, which will also ensure the fireworks are synchronised to the music soundtrack. More than 60 kilometres of wire and cables link the launch computers.

Design theme and effects for 2019

  • A ‘pyrotechnicolour’ extravaganza with:
    • Colour changing stars
    • Stained glass designed shells
    • Glittering willow effects.
    • 850 pyrotechnic effects off 4 sails of the Sydney Opera House.
    • ‘Pyrograms’ producing 2D shapes and designs by combining comets & digital technology.
    • ‘Pyro mine letters’ with the New Year’s Eve countdown & the lettering Sydney “S Y D N E Y”.

Fact Sheet: City Of Sydney

Fact Sheet – Sydney New Year’s Eve 2019 On The Night

  • The spontaneous energy of Sydney and its people inspires the event artwork. Sydney New Year’s Eve is vibrant, raw and energetic. The spirit of the city is shown in the bright, colourful, flexible and optimistic artwork by globally awarded, Sydney studio Garbett Design.
  • From 5pm to 9.15pm, the Lord Mayor’s Picnic is a circus themed, invitation only event at the Royal Botanic Garden for 1,000 children with additional needs and their support persons and families to celebrate New Year’s Eve and view the family fireworks.
  • Around 7pm a Port Authority of NSW fire tug blasts tonnes of water into the skies,with the spray creating a striking image against the setting sun until 7.30pm.
  • At 7.30pm a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony starts on the harbour with Tribal Warrior Association vessels Tribal Warrior and Mari Nawi. An Elder from the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council welcomes spectators around Sydney Harbour.
  • There are air displays at 8pm above Sydney harbour with one aircraft.
  • The Calling Country segment starts at 9.08pm and features a live performance on the ABC stage at the Sydney Opera House northern forecourt.A story created by creative consultant Rhoda Roberts unfolds, with animated video imagery projected onto the Sydney Harbour Bridge north and south pylons, in full to the east and in smaller format to the west.
  • Video projections by Artists in Motion brightens the eastern faces of the north and south pylons on the Sydney Harbour Bridge from sunset and throughout the night.
  • The pylons are also a source of information on the night, with projected community service announcements encouraging goodwill and practical safety.
  • Lighting effects by lighting designer Ziggy Ziegler feature on the Sydney Harbour Bridge from sunset throughout the night.
  • At 9pm the family fireworks starts for an 8-minute bonanza of colour and light.
  • A feature of the 9pm display is the winning entry from the ABC’s Design Your Own Firework competition, chosen in mid-August. This year’s winner is Patrick from South Australia, aged 9.
  • This year the 9pm family fireworks are synchronised to a music track created by local DJ/Producer Dan Murphy that features international hits from the last 12 months for all ages.
  • Following the 9pm family fireworks, the captivating Harbour of Light Parade takes place. Vessels adorned in colour changing light glide across Sydney Harbour.
  • The midnight fireworks last for a magical 12 minutes.
  • This year the midnight fireworks is synchronised to a music track created by local DJ/Producer Dan Murphy that features all Australian artists.
  • A live broadcast of the event begins at 8.35pm, available on ABC and iview.
  • ABC Radio broadcasts a live audio description of the 9pm family fireworks, Calling Country, Harbour of Light Parade and the midnight fireworks. Tune in through your local ABC Radio station, via free-to-air TV channel 25, via the ABC Listen app, on the ABC website or through 2RPH.
  • Sydney New Year’s Eve radio broadcaster KIIS 1065 broadcasts the exclusive soundtrack at 9pm and midnight.

For more information and updates, see sydneynewyearseve.com.

Fact Sheet: City Of Sydney

Messages Of Welcome From Gadigal Land

A symbolic message stick will be presented to Lord Mayor Clover Moore to accept on behalf of Sydney this New Year’s Eve as a gift from the Gadigal people.

The age old Aboriginal custom will be the focal point of this year’s Calling Country ceremony, which welcomes Sydney and the world to Gadigal land.

The Calling Country ceremony will see the Sydney Harbour Bridge pylons light up with projections depicting summer time stories in Sydney.

The ceremony will feature a smoking ceremony as well as musical and dance performances.

Creative Consultant Rhoda Roberts AO said message sticks were an ancient Aboriginal custom that enabled safe passage across boundaries.

“For New Year’s Eve,the message stick is a gift to the people, acknowledging Sydney for recognising the lands and the First Peoples of the city,” Ms Roberts said.

“The Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council has regenerated this ancient practice, paying homage to the old ways of crossing territories and communication. The gifting is a symbolic gesture that enables the continuous communication with the city.”

Ms Roberts has worked closely with Artists in Motion to develop the stunning Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projections, which tell the stories of the hot and dry January season.

“This year we look at the depth and wisdom of reading country, listening to the movement of the six seasons and honouring the water that gives us life,” Ms Roberts said.

“Our story focuses on the season of January and the estuaries that have always flowed and connected the clans to the deep water.

‘Calling Country’ Whale
Image: City Of Sydney

“Our Calling Country features the song of the whale as we call the clans. The call and response is heard as the smoking commences and our warrior arrives carrying the message stick as the women begin the cleansing.

“And like the old ways, we still gather to connect on the harbour, to feast, celebrate the abundance, to laugh, think and play.

“As our nations join forces to help those who are suffering from drought and fire, we are reminded of the precious gift we have inherited and the stewardship we continue as the First Nations People of country.”

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said including the ceremony as part of proceedings that are watched by a billion people around the world reflects the City’s commitment to celebrating the culture of the world’s oldest civilisation.

“The Calling Country ceremony prominently and proudly acknowledges our First Nations People as custodians of the land on which we celebrate New Year’s Eve,” the Lord Mayor said.

“It is an honour to accept a message stick on behalf of Sydney and help share Indigenous heritage and culture with the world.

“This year’s official charity partner is the Refugee Council of Australia, so commencing New Year’s Eve celebrations with a message of ‘welcome’ is particularly apt.”

The City of Sydney New Year’s Eve event times:

7pm Fire tug presents its water display on Sydney Harbour

7.30pm Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony on Sydney Harbour by the Tribal Warrior Association

8pm Air display above Sydney Harbour by flying ace Matt Hall and Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projections start

8.30pm Sydney Harbour Bridge lighting effects start

9pm Family fireworks (8 minutes) includes the ABC Design Your Own Firework competition firework display

9.08pm Calling Country segment honouring Australia’s Indigenous heritage

9.15pm Harbour of Light parade

12am Midnight fireworks (12 minutes)

2am Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projection and lighting effects end.

For New Year’s event information, visit the Sydney New Year’s Eve website.

Media Release: City Of Sydney

Sydney Welcomes World To 2020

Sydney will welcome a new decade with a symphony of light, colour and Australian sounds as part of the world’s best New Year’s Eve party.

The sky above Sydney Harbour will be illuminated by a stunning pyrotechnic display and an attempt to create the brightest lighting beam in the southern hemisphere for the first time.

A Calling Country ceremony will welcome the world to Gadigal land, as Lord Mayor Clover Moore is presented with a symbolic message stick to accept on behalf of Sydney residents and visitors.

NYE19 launch. Image Katherine Griffiths, City of Sydney
NYE19 launch. Image Katherine Griffiths, City of Sydney

The Lord Mayor said NYE 2019 would be the most choreographed show to date, with fireworks, lighting and pylon projections set to an all-Aussie midnight soundtrack for the first time.

“The Sydney New Year’s Eve show is our gift to the world. It’s about saying welcome to Sydney and welcome to 2020 – to locals, visitors, migrants, refugees and more than one billion viewers across the globe.

“Our creative talents in pyrotechnics, lighting and music have come together to create a spectacle that reflects what our beautiful city is all about.

“The Sydney Harbour Bridge will light up to create the brightest beam in the southern hemisphere, while our world-famous fireworks ring in the new year.

“Our New Year’s Eve celebrations are about showing the world what a welcoming place Sydney is and celebrating the culture of the Gadigal people, the original custodians of our land.

“Sydney’s world renowned New Year’s Eve fireworks have become a major tourist attraction and each year, they generate more than $130 million for the NSW economy.”

Fireworks director Fortunato Foti has worked on every New Year’s Eve since 1997 and relishes the challenge of finding innovative ways to ring in the new year.

“To celebrate the start of 2020, the audience will be treated to a ‘pyrotechnicolour’ extravaganza with more than 100,000 pyrotechnic effects,” Mr Foti said.

“These include colour changing stars, stained glass designed shells, glittering willow effects and ‘pyrograms’ producing 2D shapes.

“Pyro mine letters spelling out ‘Sydney’ will fall from the bridge as we countdown to midnight.

“The fireworks will be launched from seven different barges around the harbour, as well as the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.”

Lighting designer Ziggy Ziegler said the attempt to create the brightest beam in the southern hemisphere was a bold, new approach for Sydney New Year’s Eve.

“We’re installing a series of high output, low power light sources on the Harbour Bridge that will link up to create a stunning beam shooting up into the sky,” Mr Ziegler said.

“Our Harbour of Light show is also back, connecting crowds around the harbour with the action through a stunning light show on the water and across the whole eastern face of the bridge.

“The combination of our brilliant lighting with the fireworks and pylon projections will create a stunning spectacle that will dazzle people across the globe.”

The Lord Mayor announced the Refugee Council of Australia as the City of Sydney’s official charity partner for New Year’s Eve, launching 2020 as the year of welcome.

Refugee Council of Australia CEO Paul Power called on Sydneysiders to take one easy, fun action every month in 2020 to welcome people of refugee backgrounds into their community.

“We will be creating a movement of welcome, from the bottom up. On the eve of the new decade, thousands of Australians will send a message to the people who have sought safety in Australia to let them know that we’re delighted they’re here,” Mr Power said.

The Lord Mayor said all of Sydney had been deeply saddened by the tragic impact of the bushfires, and pledged to use New Year’s Eve to help raise money and awareness for those in need.

“Sydney New Year’s Eve unites people from all over the world with a message of hope for the year to come.

“I appreciate the calls people have been making to cancel our New Year’s Eve fireworks in light of the bushfires.

“Rather than do that, we will harness the enormous power of the event to raise more money for the Australian Red Cross’ Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.

“We encourage all people who visit our city on New Year’s Eve and those watching at home to donate to the Red Cross disaster relief and recovery fund via our online fundraiser.”

The City of Sydney has already donated $620,000 to drought and bushfire relief, and will provide trucks, staff and other in-kind support to assist emergency services with recovery and clean-up efforts.

To donate, visit city.sydney/bushfire-support-nye

Sydney New Year’s Eve event times:

7pm Fire tug presents a water display on Sydney Harbour

7.30pm Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony on Sydney Harbour by the Tribal Warrior Association

8pm Air display above Sydney Harbour by flying ace Matt Hall Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projections start

8.30pm Sydney Harbour Bridge lighting effects start

9pm Family fireworks (8 minutes) including the ABC’s Design Your Own Firework competition firework display

9.08pm Calling Country segment honouring Australia’s Indigenous heritage

9.15pm Harbour of light parade

12am Midnight fireworks (12 minutes)

2am Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon projection and lighting effects end

For New Year’s event information, visit the Sydney New Year’s Eve website.

Media Release: City Of Sydney

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Ring In A New Decade With Your ABC!

The New Year Eve 2019 ticket ballot is open now.

ABC is excited to join forces with the City of Sydney and the Sydney Opera House to welcome the start of the twenty twenties. With a fantastic concert and fireworks spectacular live from the Boardwalk of the Sydney Opera House, this NYE is set to be the Party of the Decades!

Join us to celebrate the most memorable songs from recent decades. From the rock-n ’roll classics of the 60s, to the high tempo disco hits of the 80s and present day classics – the hits will keep coming.

Hosts Zan Rowe and Charlie Pickering will be joined by some of Australia’s biggest and brightest singers. Songstress Kate Miller-Heidke, vocal inspirations Vika and Linda Bull, Grinspoon’s Phil Jamieson, pop singer Angie Hart, musician Mojo Juju, soulful rap artist Adrian Eagle and the powerhouse that is Casey Donovan, have all signed up to perform.

With even more performers still to be announced, this New Year’s Eve – ABC’s Party of the Decades is one not to be missed! The live concert will be broadcast to Australia via ABC TV, iview, ABC Radio and to the world via ABC Australia and ABC Online.

For your chance to get tickets to join ABC’s star-studded concert and celebrate the new year, apply at the Sydney Opera House website at the link below.

https://ab.co/nyeballot

Media Release Australian Broadcasting Corporation