Sydney NYE2019 To Have Bushfire & Drought Appeal Says Sydney’s Lord Mayor

After a controversially-held corporate fireworks display and numerous petitions calling for Sydney NYE2019 to be cancelled, the City Of Sydney’s Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, has issued a statement regarding this year’s edition this evening, following a motion made at tonight’s Council meeting regarding the bushfire emergency & proposed donations from the City Of Sydney:

I appreciate the calls people have been making to cancel our New Year’s Eve fireworks and donate those funds too.

With just six weeks till New Year’s Eve, much of the funding for the event has already been spent. But it’s not that simple.

Sydney New Year’s Eve is one of the world’s biggest public events. It attracts more than one million people to the harbour foreshore, is watched by a billion more worldwide, and it injects $130 million into the NSW economy.

Locals, visitors and businesses plan their Sydney New Year’s Eve experience years in advance. It’s an event that unites people from all over the world, with a message of hope for the year to come.

We can’t cancel it, but we can harness the enormous power of the event to raise more money for drought and fire affected communities.

Right now, our staff are considering how to drive donations to relevant charities through our event website, media outreach and on the night. We did this after the Boxing Day Tsunami – quickly mobilising to ensure those reading about, watching or attending the event were reminded to donate to disaster relief.

I believe we have a responsibility to support our regional communities in their time of need. Our cash donations and commitment to using New Year’s Eve to promote further fundraising will provide much-needed financial support and help relieve some of the devastating effects caused by the bushfires and the drought.

It’s expected the bushfire & drought donation appeal & how it will operate will be formally announced at the media launch in early to mid December (most likely early December).

As referred to in her statement, an appeal would be similar to the appeal they did in 2004 for the Indian Ocean Earthquake & Tsunami. That one raised AUS$1.2 million in 3 days with the City Of Sydney starting with a $50,000 donation. Unlike in 2004 though, which was mainly a domestic appeal done by the official NYE charity partner, Oxfam, on the official television broadcast, it’s expected this one would be international due to the Internet broadcasts now occurring and will last not just 3 days but up to a month. It could raise millions of dollars (at least half the cost of the event) if each viewer/consumer/spectator only donated at least $1.

This year’s official charity partner is Refugee Council Of Australia. It is unclear whether Refugee Council Of Australia would receive donations too as they are this year’s official charity partner. However, it’s possible their 3 year contract could be extended for a year to make up for the shift in donation priorities.

If you consider today as the start of the appeal (rather than most likely media launch day), the City Of Sydney have started it with a $620,000 donation.

In 2004, it was current Lord Mayor Clover Moore’s first year in office & she said this of the appeal:

NYE is a time for celebration and reflection and this year we want all those people that get to enjoy the event to have a great night and at the same time think about those less fortunate who are affected by the tsunami tragedy and do what they can by giving generously to the fund

And in the annual Lord Mayor’s NYE Message (since discontinued):

This year our traditional New Year’s Eve celebrations have been overshadowed by the tsunami disaster.

As the full extent of the tragedy has started to emerge in recent days it has shocked and saddened us all.

I know that as a community, and as good neighbours, Australians feel the need to acknowledge the devastation, pay our respects to those who lost their lives, and offer to help in any way we can.

Coming together tonight to mark the passing of the old year and the beginning of the new gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect.

As a community, we can express our condolences for those who lost their lives, homes and loved ones so suddenly and without warning.

We can also reflect on the help that is needed right now and well into the future, and the part we – as a nation, and as individuals – can contribute.

The commencement of the new year will mark the beginning of a new relationship with our Asian neighbours – a new level of engagement, with a shared understanding of our common humanity, and our common frailty.

Founded on a shared compassion and a collective commitment to help those affected by this disaster.

As a country we experience bushfires, droughts and floods. We know that troubled times often bring out the best in people and create close bonds as we pull together to help one another.

As the year 2005 commences it is time to extend the hand of friendship and assist our Asian neighbours in their time of need.

An official New Years Eve fundraising appeal has been set up tonight with Oxfam collection points around the city until 9pm.  Television viewers can make a donation by calling 1800 034 034. 

Rather than a carefree “happy new year” it may be more appropriate to wish one another a compassionate New Year for 2005.

New Years Eve is traditionally a time when we greet the new year with hope and optimism for the future.  Let’s express this tonight by giving generously.

Thank you.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, MP

However, with global warming increasing and worsening bushfires, scenarios like this week for Sydney NYE are to become more likely and frequent.

The possibility of cancellation would increase year after year and given a special appeal has been announced for the 1st time in 13 years suggests it has already escalated.

While the Lord Mayor writes “We can’t cancel it”, it theoretically is still possible. The Midnight Fireworks can be cancelled if the wind is too fast, for example. However, cancellation of anything won’t recover most of the costs to move it to bushfire/drought relief as like she says, it has already been spent. Most of the costs (about 2/3)are not even to do with the fireworks anyway. Also, event management is a stressful occupation and to suddenly cancel an event when it most likely could do more good than bad regarding disasters would annoy event managers who worked 15 months for it. Things would have to be really bad for it to be cancelled and we don’t want that.

Update (02/12/2019): The Australian Red Cross confirmed its partnership to, with a spokesman saying it was “delighted” to have been chosen by the City of Sydney for the venture.