Thousands Sign Petition To Scrap Sydney's NYE Fireworks And Donate Funds To Fire Relief
Over 10,000 people have signed a petition calling on the government to scrap Sydney's iconic New Year's Eve fireworks this year and donate the millions spent on the display to drought and fire relief.
The change.org petition, launched earlier this week, puts the call directly to Prime Minister Scott Morrison to intervene and cancel the fireworks display which is traditionally seen live by millions and broadcast globally.
Kayla Neale started the petition, and wants the money that would have been spent on the fireworks to go to Aussie farmers struggling with the drought along with communities ravaged by the recent bushfire crisis.
"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," Neale wrote.
"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 the Aussie way; by giving our fellow Australians a helping hand!"
At time of writing, the petition has over 10,300 signatures.
The City of Sydney council, which puts on the fireworks display every year, said the event was "one of the world's biggest public events".
A council spokesperson told 10 daily the event is about uniting people across the country and globally "with a message of hope, happiness and celebration".
"The event attracts more than one million people to the harbour foreshore, more than one billion global viewers and generates more than $130 million into the NSW economy annually," the spokesperson said in a statement.
"A large proportion of the New Year’s Eve budget is spent on crowd safety measures."
The spokesperson added the council made a $200,000 donation to drought affected communities last year.
A meeting, scheduled to go ahead on Monday, would consider a further donation of $300,000 to the Country Women's Association of NSW Drought Aid appeal, they said.
Monday's meeting will also consider putting forward a council donation of $300,000 to the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) and a further $20,000 to WIRES to assist wildlife recovery and re-homing.
"The Minute will also see the City match staff donations to bushfire and drought appeals dollar for dollar, and offer in-kind support to firefighting efforts, bushfire relief, and post-emergency clean-up, such as water trucks, other council service vehicles and staff," the spokesperson said.
The huge response to the online petition comes just days after the state government was slammed for proceeding with a 20-minute firework display over Sydney Harbour despite a total fire ban being in place.
The fireworks were set off the Sydney Opera House on Wednesday night, sparking outrage over the timing as the state endured one of the worst bushfire emergencies in recent history.
While the display angered many online, the NSW RFS later confirmed the fireworks had gone ahead legally.
So far this season, six lives have been lost and 412 homes have been destroyed by bushfires in NSW, the RFS confirmed on Saturday.
Up to 303 of those homes were lost in the week since last Friday.
As fires continue to ravage communities in both NSW and Queensland, petitions and campaigns supporting residents, fire crews and native animals have received millions of signatures and donations.
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