Deputy premier John Barilaro has said that Sydney’s annual NYE fireworks spectacular must be cancelled to protect the public from a potential outbreak. More than a million spectators flock to inner-city Sydney every year to watch the 12-minute-long $6.5 million display, which features upwards of 100,000 pyrotechnics.
Barilaro also cited the cancellation of several other major events in regional NSW, such as the Tamworth Country Music Festival and Falls Festival, as a precedent for cancelling Sydney’s world-famous NYE celebrations. “If the regions have to lose big tourism events, then there is no option but to cancel the big drawcard events in Sydney,” he said.
His sentiments follow concerns voiced in mid-August by Sydney mayor Clover Moore, who said it “may not be responsible” to hold the crowded festivities given the current health guidelines, adding that the fireworks would be cancelled if medical advice demanded it.
If the display is called off, it will be the first time in 32 years that January 1 has not been heralded by fireworks over the harbour. The internationally televised event was almost called off last year, in response to the bushfire disaster, after more than 300,000 Australians signed a petition calling for the money spent on the fireworks to be redirected to fire-ravaged communities. However, the display eventually went ahead, with authorities citing the fact that the pyrotechnics had already been purchased and installed.