‘Why We’re Not Cancelling The Fireworks’: City Of Sydney Issues Statement On Official Website

Updated 19/12/2019

The City Of Sydney have today issued a statement on their official Sydney New Year’s Eve website defiantly titled as a whole webpage, Why We’re Not Cancelling The Fireworks.

It comes after a bushfire emergency in various locations along the Great Dividing Range started in early September as well as a drought that started in winter. Both weather events haven’t stopped since, resulting in petitions starting up in mid-November calling for the cancellation of Sydney NYE2019 and shifting the funds to bushfire/drought relief.

A fireworks display held on Sydney Harbour on the 14th November during a total fire ban (but legally exempted from said ban), a state of emergency & during a time of high fire danger caused controversy.

The subsequent media coverage of the controversy & the petitions, a megafire the size of Sydney forming north-west of that city & one of the worst air quality days ever on record (2200 index) caused the petitions to accelerate to 150,000 signatures.

The main petitions, as of the time of this post’s publication, had around 199,000 signatures.

On the 19th of November, the Lord Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore, announced a bushfire appeal fund as part of Sydney NYE2019, which later was revealed on the 3rd of December to be a promotion of the Australian Red Cross’s Disaster Recovery & Relief Fund. Clover Moore also responded to the petitions two more times – at Sydney NYE2019’s media launch (3rd of December) & on the 10th of December when the petitions hit 150,000 signatures (after being only 80,000 signatures 13 hours prior).

This Why We’re Not Cancelling The Fireworks webpage  replaces the previous section Bushfire Recovery Fund and mostly expands the wording found in that previous section.

The statement’s wording also is similar to previous responses by the City Of Sydney & it’s Lord Mayor, Clover Moore. However, there are some new details – most notably, about the City Of Sydney & Sydney NYE2019’s carbon offsets & that weather/safety management of Sydney NYE2019 will be addressed closer to the event.

Also yesterday on their website, they also issued the official event guides for Sydney NYE2019, which are in multiple languages & formats.

The Why We’re Not Cancelling The Fireworks statement can be found below:

Why we’re not cancelling the fireworks

We appreciate the concerns people have around holding the event while large parts of Australia are dealing with bushfires and drought. And we’ve heard the calls from people to cancel the event and donate the budget to relief efforts.

We appreciate the concerns people have around holding the event while large parts of Australia are dealing with bushfires and drought. And we’ve heard the calls from people to cancel the event and donate the budget to relief efforts.

But we cannot cancel the New Year’s Eve celebrations. Even if we could, it would have little practical benefit for affected communities.

We began preparations and planning for the New Year’s Eve celebrations 15 months ago. This means most of the budget – largely used for crowd safety and cleaning measures – has already been spent.

Cancelling the event would seriously hurt Sydney businesses. It would also ruin plans for tens of thousands of people from across the country and overseas who have booked flights, hotels and restaurants to be here for New Year’s Eve.

Watched by millions

The display is watched by a billion people worldwide, showcasing Sydney to the world as a safe, inclusive and attractive place to visit.

Sydney New Year’s Eve generates $130 million for the NSW economy and super charges our tourism industry, creating jobs and supporting countless small businesses.

The City of Sydney works closely with NSW Government agencies such as the Department of Premier and Cabinet, NSW Health, NSW Police and Fire and Rescue NSW in the lead up to the event.

We will continue to discuss weather and safety issues such as smoke haze, and how we will manage them, as we get closer to the event date.

Fundraising

Rather than cancelling the event, we’ve donated $620,000 to support communities and wildlife impacted by bushfire and drought, and offered our trucks and staff to help emergency services with clean-up and recovery efforts.

We are also promoting an online fundraiser for the Red Cross Disaster Recovery and Relief Fund in the lead up to and on New Year’s Eve.

During the broadcast and on the night, we will be encouraging those gathered around the harbour and watching at home to give generously.

Donate

The event will also support our official charity partner, the Refugee Council of Australia, as we begin 2020: The Year of Welcome.

Carbon offset

The City of Sydney’s fireworks will be carbon offset. They are also biodegradable to reduce waste and environmental impact.

The event will also be greener this year, with our sites and operations using 100 per cent accredited GreenPower.

This year we will buy GreenPower certificates to the equivalent of our energy use.

These will cover 10 sites across the city, including Bicentennial and Pirrama parks and the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The certificates will support the production of renewable energy at Sapphire Wind Farm in northern NSW.

All City of Sydney-owned properties will use energy bought with GreenPower certificates from 1 July 2020, supporting energy generated by Sapphire Wind Farm and two other renewable energy projects.

This post updates.

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 3 times in the past month. Twice out of respect and the 3rd 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

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 7NEWS.com.au, with a spokesman saying it was “delighted” to have been chosen by the City of Sydney for the venture.

Momentum Builds As Petition To Cancel Sydney NYE 2019 Grows To 10,000 Signatures

UPDATE (19/11/2019): City Of Sydney Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, has announced a bushfire/drought appeal for Sydney NYE2019 and said staff are considering how to drive donations.

After predicting there is a chance strong controversy may break out in late December about Sydney NYE due to Wednesday night’s controversially-held corporate fireworks display on Sydney Harbour, it seems momentum has already begun.

Whilst Huffington Post Australia made it’s view known (and the potential for future wider media support for a Sydney NYE cancellation) by writing a sensationalised article about 1 tweeter who disliked Sydney NYE being promoted on Twitter in the middle of the bushfire emergency, it seems community sediment is growing for cancellation with a Change.org petition appearing 5 days ago (before Wednesday night’s controversy) but it has since grown to nearly 10,000 signatures. The petition’s statement and title is below:

Giving NYE firework funds to Aussie farmers and those affected by fire

Kayla Neale started this petition to Scott Morrison (Prime Minister of Australia)

With Australia facing drought and now catastrophic fires, decimating towns as it tears across our country, the thought of spending MILLIONS of dollars on a firework display when it could be used to support and rebuild our country instead is infuriating.

Join me in petitioning that the funds for the 2019/2020 New Years Firework display in Sydney are instead allocated to the Aussie farmers affected by drought and the Aussie citzens affected by the fires.

It’s times like these when we as a nation need to look at our priorities and I believe the new year should be welcomed in in the aussie way; by giving our fellow Australians a helping hand!

X Kayla

Another petition has about 3500 signatures at the time of this article’s initial publication. It said:

Say NO to FIREWORKS NYE 2019 give the money to farmers and firefighters

Linda McCormick started this petition to PM Scott Morrison (PM office AUSTRALIA)

2019 has been a catastrophic year in Australia for Floods and Fires. Give the money we spend on FIREWORKS New Years Eve to farmers and Firefighters and Animal Carers. Save AUSTRALIA’s Wildlife.
5.8 MILLION $$ was spent in Sydney alone for fireworks last year. All states should say NO to FIREWORKS. This may traumatise some people as there is enough smoke in the air.

The event does costs around $6 million.

However, the fireworks, to the best of our knowledge, make up about 1/3 of that cost. It varies between 1 to 2.4 million dollars. Other costs (the other 2/3)  would include marketing, lighting, projections, broadcasting, road closures, marine management, logistics etc.

The event also contributes $133 million to the ‘local’ economy.

The 2nd petitioner also added:

Thoughts and Thankyou’s

Linda McCormick
Townsville, Australia

NOV 14, 2019 —  Latest thoughts not only stop the fireworks NYE 2019 but 1 min silence at 11.45pm NEW YEARS EVE for all the people around the world who have been effected by catastrophic weather events. To show respect for mankind.

This idea isn’t a bad one. It has been done before in 2004 for the Indian Ocean Earthquake & Tsunami (death toll: 227,898) right before the 10 second countdown to the 9pm Family Fireworks. On an equivalent scale for local bushfires, sadly, it would be have to be worse (approximately 280 deaths) in NSW than the Black Saturday bushfires of Victoria in 2009 (death toll: 176), which has double the death toll of the 2nd worst recorded bushfire in Australian history. We don’t that to happen again. This year’s bushfire season death toll is 6 nationally.

In any case, if you are cancelling the fireworks as well, it would be (no offense) pointless to have a minute’s silence by the Harbour as there is no reason to hold it at 11:45pm at night if there is no one there to acknowledge it (unless everyone is still celebrating NYE, right?). No one will go to the Harbour if there are no fireworks or light shows. They would head to the nightclubs or possibly still on their cruises to celebrate at private rather than public functions (with huge discounts hopefully) unless they are boycotting celebrating NYE out of respect for the firefighters and victims of the bushfires. Holding a minute’s silence in the daytime at a national service not on NYE or New Year’s Day would be more appropriate in such a case.

There are a few other faults with these petitions though.

Firstly, it is addressed to the Prime Minister Of Australia.

The Prime Minister Of Australia is not involved with Sydney NYE. The closest you can get is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the official television and Internet broadcaster and the major sponsor of the event.

However, if they don’t remove their sponsorship to cripple the event, the best the ABC can do in protest is to not broadcast or stream the event.

Secondly, most of the funds are already spent.

Planning begins usually in October the previous year so 13 months ago. The show’s soundtrack has been made, the fireworks programmed. The fireworks are probably being made right now.

Thirdly, it is a City Of Sydney event.

Unless Sydneysiders are definitely wanting to cancel the event, then the event will likely proceed assuming the bushfire conditions aren’t worse than Black Christmas.

However, the NSW Government can overrule them. If NSW wants the event cancelled, the NSW Government could withdraw support & their financial contributions (such as, most notably, not letting Foti International Fireworks use the Sydney Harbour Bridge). It would contravene a memorandum of understanding signed every 5 years with the City Of Sydney but that is not a legally binding contract.

Whilst momentum is building, the key times to watch are the 24 hours after the media launch and shortly before Christmas Day. If bushfire conditions deteriorate, public pressure may be very strong particularly after Wednesday night’s controversial fireworks display & these growing petitions. However, precedent was set in 2001 – the bushfires would have to be worse than Black Christmas for cancellation to be possible. With forecasts also being made for a horror bushfire season, a cancellation is not too far a stretch of the imagination. Outside of the annual threat of strong winds, air quality would be the biggest threat in the event of extreme bushfires.

No one wants this to happen but in regards to fatalities, the death toll would have to be the worst ever for a disaster in Australia – 280+ or (slightly higher than 0.003% of the NSW population) – to go higher than the Sydney NYE precedent set by the 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake & Tsunami, which shocked humanity (Death toll there was 0.003% of the human population or 227,898 lives). Sydney NYE went ahead after that devastating international event.

If bushfires are near or on the date of the media launch, given the recent controversies, we’d assume it would be postponed to after the bushfires have been extinguished or burnt out, assuming there is enough time left to do a media launch (and if they are going to do one. We’d assume so as they’ve done it every year).

If every petitioner was from the City Of Sydney local government area (can’t be guaranteed), their anger would be noticeable so 10,000 petitioners is a significant number. It just depends on their location. Outside of the City Of Sydney, the anger currently might not be noticeable. If they are all from the City Of Sydney, it is currently enough to give concern to holding the event.

The best we can hope for right now is for the City Of Sydney to consider the possibility of setting up a bushfire/drought appeal running from the media launch in early to mid December until Midnight on NYE. Donations could be taken throughout the night on the ground, via the ABC, via social media.

The total amount raised could be revealed on the pylons during the Midnight Fireworks too or the Sydney Opera House could be turned into a unique ‘fundraiser thermometer’ with throughout the night the amount being donated continuously updating or a representation of how much towards a target has been achieved (though the latter is riskier in case the target was too ambitious or unexpectedly not many people donated)

However, this idea would conflict with this year’s Sydney NYE charity partner, Refugee Council Of Australia. It could though provide an educational opportunity for the charity partner to emphasise the potential migration of refugees from global warming events such as more frequent and intense bushfires.

An appeal though 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, this one would be international due to the Internet broadcasts now occurring. Even a donation appeal to help koalas in bushfire areas would go great around the world. It could raise millions of dollars (at least half the cost of the event) if each viewer/spectator only donated at least $1.

At the time 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

A petition last year to stop The Everest Barrier Draw being projected onto the Sydney Opera House contained nearly 300,000 signatures for comparison. However, that was more of a State Government issue. Sydney NYE is a local government event so less signatures (around 10,000) have meaning and could have an effect if the signers are mostly from the City Of Sydney local government area.

Update (18/11/2019): At least 3 more petitions have been found online.

While the City Of Sydney last Thursday would not comment on hypothetical situations, we have contacted the ABC for enquiries.

This post updates.