A minister has given the biggest indication yet that Australia’s most iconic New Year’s Eve celebrations could go ahead after a ‘s***y and crap’ 2020.
But Sydney’s world famous fireworks will be like no other, affected by strict restrictions in the wake of the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has this year one everyone would rather forget.
New South Wales tourism minister Stuart Ayres has gave his blessing for the fireworks display on Thursday, a day after event organisers City of Sydney indicated it was working with the state government.
The minister said it was ultimately the council’s decision on whether the annual celebration watched by a billion people worldwide went ahead but gave his view in colourful terms.
‘I would love to see fireworks on the Harbour Bridge to celebrate 2021,’ Mr Ayres told reporters on Thursday.
‘I think everyone’s just had a pretty s****y 2020 and having a fantastic celebration of starting a new year is probably going to out a smile on people’s faces.’
He warned it won’t be a traditional New Year’s Eve celebration and will be without the one million revellers that pack city’s harbour foreshore.
‘But if we get an opportunity to celebrate a new year, put 2020 behind us and do so on the world stage, that’s got to be a good thing, doesn’t it?,’ Mr Ayres said.
‘It’s been a crap 2020. We all know what’s in been like. Bring on 2021. Let’s have some fireworks to celebrate the end of this year and the start of a new one.’
City of Sydney Council is working with the government to assess the impact of COVID-19 on all major events, including New Year’s Eve.
‘These events are subject to the NSW Government’s public health orders, which are continuously amended to address the local impact of the pandemic,’ a spokesman told Daily Mail Australia.
Where events are deemed safe enough to occur, we will prepare and enact COVID safe plans and physical distancing guidelines to safeguard the health and safety of our community, staff and contractors.’
It will the first time in 32 years if Sydney’s famous fireworks display is cancelled.
With just four months to go, some don’t believe the fireworks should go ahead as the battle to control a second wave of fresh infections continues.
‘It sends a message we’re out of the woods, when we’re not,’ University of NSW Professor Mary-Louise McLaws told Nine News.
Bayside Council Mayor Joe Awada added: ‘How can you possible comply with health order and restrictions with 1.5 metres with 70,000 people? It would be impossible to control.
Last year’s New Year’s Eve celebrations in Sydney were marred by controversy after widespread last-ditch calls for the event to be cancelled due to the horror bushfire crisis along Australia’s east coast at the time.
More than 300,000 Australians signed a Change.org petition, calling for the event to be cancelled and give the money to drought-stricken farmers and tireless firefighters as the bushfire crisis hits frightening levels across the east coast.
Dozens of homes and properties were destroyed on December 31 last year as horrific fire tore through NSW south coast and Victoria’s far-east
A number of councils in Sydney and across NSW cancelled their celebrations, including Parramatta, Wollongong, Campbelltown, Huskisson, Armidale, Maitland and Canberra.
Sydney’s Bayside Council has already announced its celebrations have been scrapped for a second consecutive year.