NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has undercut the position of Premier Gladys Berejiklian regarding Sydney’s world-famous New Year’s Eve fireworks, saying tomorrow’s celebration should be canceled out of respect for the state’s bushfire-affected communities.
Taking to Twitter today, NSW Nationals leader Barilaro said it should be an “easy decision” to can the fireworks amid the state’s bushfire crisis, warning the risk of accidental blazes around Sydney Harbour is “too high”.
Sydney’s New Years Eve Fireworks should just be canceled, very easy decision. The risk is too high and we must respect our exhausted RFS volunteers. If regional areas have had fireworks banned, then let’s not have two classes of citizens. We’re all in this crisis together.
— John Barilaro MP (@JohnBarilaroMP) December 29, 2019
That stands in contrast to the position of NSW Liberal Party leader Berejiklian, who yesterday backed the fireworks as a celebration and show of resilience in the face of adversity.
“We’re a hopeful, optimistic state,” Berejiklian told reporters.
“We’re a resilient state. And we appreciate that there’s a lot of suffering in the community in the moment… If the [Rural Fire Service], if the experts say it’s safe to have the fireworks continue, well, we should do that.”
Separately, Sydney Mayor Clover Moore has also backed the fireworks display. In her on Twitter statement, Moore said she “appreciates” calls to cancel the pyrotechnics, but supports the event as a fundraiser for Red Cross Australia’s disaster relief capabilities.
I appreciate the calls people have made to cancel our New Year’s Eve event, but rather than doing that we’re using the huge reach of #SydNYE to encourage people around the world to support the @RedCrossAU’s important work of helping people who have been affected by disaster. pic.twitter.com/PXUNvGGgmb
— Clover Moore (@CloverMoore) December 29, 2019
The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Rural Fire Service’s decision on the fireworks will be delivered this afternoon, with the final say pending on the city’s fire risk rising to ‘Extreme’ or ‘Catastrophic’.
As much of the state continues to swelter, the Bureau of Meteorology predicts central Sydney will reach 33C tomorrow afternoon, with lower temperatures and a 20% of thunderstorms in the evening.
Last year’s rain-drenched event drew tens of thousands of local onlookers with millions more watching the festivities worldwide.
Could use some of that wetness right about now, hey?Image: Jessica Hromas / City of Sydney / Getty Images