The New South Wales Deputy Premier, John Barilaro, in a tweet this morning called for the cancellation of Sydney New Year’s Eve 2019:
The tweet read:
Sydney’s New Years Eve Fireworks should just be canceled, very easy decision. The risk is too high and we must respect our exhausted RFS volunteers. If regional areas have had fireworks banned, then let’s not have two classes of citizens. We’re all in this crisis together.
For our international readers, John Barilaro is a member of The Nationals political party, who mostly represent regional country/rural electorates. Most of the bushfires have taken place in these electorates. He is a member of the Coalition, which is The Nationals & the Liberals (Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s political party) together. This means the Coalition & therefore, the New South Wales Government, is split on the issue.
The Australian understands he is currently in London on holiday and sent the tweet from abroad.
In response to Mr Barilaro’s tweet, a spokesperson from the City of Sydney said to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation News that it had nothing to add beyond previous statements.
Although Tanya Goldberg, the Sydney NYE2019 Head Of Audience, told the Today morning breakfast television show this morning cancelling the fireworks would not benefit victims of the bushfires:
We know that cancelling the fireworks will have zero practical benefit for those fire-ravaged communities
The one thing that will help those communities is to go ahead with the event and leverage the power of it to drive people to donate, to demonstrate their generosity by going to the Australian Red Cross disaster relief and recovery fund
They can go to nye.Sydney/donate and we will be promoting that in the lead up, and that I can do
When asked if there would be any kind of tribute to the tireless efforts of volunteer fireys during the show, Ms Goldberg said:
There will not be an overt tribute to the firefighters – (creative) plans were put in place months and months and months ago but we are doing everything to throw our support behind them
However, whilst we haven’t confirmed it, at Sydney NYE2014 there were news reports of a tribute to the victims of the Sydney siege, which occurred about 2 weeks prior to the event.
Shane Fitzsimmons, commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service, said today:
We will be weighing up the risks this afternoon with more details on the forecast. I don’t envisage a cancellation of the fireworks on account of the total fire bans
Any perceived risk will be remediated
He also said he’s “confident, unless something untoward comes out of the forecast”, that the event will go ahead and that the New South Wales Rural Fire Service is working with all parties to finalise exemptions on a possible total fire ban for the City Of Sydney.
This afternoon, the fire danger rating forecast will be released. This will mostly determine whether the 9pm Family Fireworks & Calling Country pyrotechnics would go ahead. It is expected to be cancelled if a ‘catastophic’ fire danger rating is forecast. The Midnight Fireworks won’t be determined until the afternoon of NYE. However, pressure to cancel would be increased if the 9pm Family Fireworks are already forecast to be held in ‘catastrophic’ conditions.
This post updates.