Sydney Council Cancels Australia Day Fireworks, Gives Money To RFS Instead
Sydney's Parramatta council has scrapped its Australia Day fireworks display to instead donate $40,000 to NSW firefighters, declaring 'when things get tough Aussies stick together'.
In a statement released on Friday, the council in Sydney's west said the display was being cancelled in light of the ongoing bushfire crisis but said the rest of its planned Australia Day events would go on.
Lord Mayor Bob Dwyer said cancelling the fireworks was also a "mark of solidarity with the many communities affected by the fires across the country."
“While I know the fireworks are always a popular part of our event, we feel it would be inappropriate to proceed given the current circumstances," Dwyer said.
“When things get tough, Australians stick together; let’s use this Australia Day to show our support and help those communities impacted by the devastating bushfires get back on their feet."
"I encourage everyone to embrace the Aussie spirit and lend a hand in any way they can,” he continued.
Parramatta vowed to also donate $40,000 to the NSW Rural Fire Service, after already donating $10,000 in December during the height of the crisis.
A stall will also be set up at the main Australian Day event on the January 26 where attendees can write messages to firefighters and add their own personal donations to the Rural Fire Service association.
"Funds raised will go towards purchasing much-needed equipment for fire stations across NSW," the council statement read.
Dwyer said the council was still encouraging people to attend the Australia Day event which is planned to go on for about 15 hours and will be headlined by Aussie group Sheppard.
Parramatta Council was one of a number of local government areas across the country that cancelled their fireworks on New Year's Eve.
Where The Bloody Hell Aren't You? Why Bushfire-Ravaged Towns Need You To Holiday There
A small business owner in one of the nation's bushfire-affected areas has issued a rallying cry for Australians to "travel in their own backyard for the sake of the country" as small-town communities work to rebuild.
At the time, many councils were urged to cancel their displays as a show of solidarity with the bushfire affected communities across the country.
Sydney Harbour's New Year's Eve fireworks were given approval as an exempt event during the Total Fire Ban, after fierce public debate.
It is unclear whether any fire bans will be in place in Sydney or NSW on Australia Day.