Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced that Melbourne’s annual Australia Day fireworks have been scrapped amid the ongoing bushfire crisis that continues to ravage the state.
The fireworks, which usually take place in Docklands have been cancelled as Parks Victoria is struggling to find adequate staffing for the event as many employees are preoccupied fighting bushfires in East Gippsland.
Parks Victoria staff work in collaboration with the Forest Fire Management Victoria to help fight and recover from bushfires throughout the state, which is obviously more important than the annual fireworks display.
Daniel Andrews took to Twitter to apologise for making the call, hoping that Victorians “can appreciate why [they’ve] made it.”
“The resources required for a fireworks display are hard to justify at a time like this.”
The resources required for a fireworks display are hard to justify at a time like this.— Dan Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) January 17, 2020
I'm very sorry we've had to make this call.
But I hope you can appreciate why we've made it.https://t.co/OfCBlXYfxy
The decision was met by an outpour of support on social media, with Victorians calling it a “solid decision” and “a common sense decision that nobody can possibly argue with.”
Big thank you for having the guts to make this decision— SR Passes It On (@SallyRMelb) January 17, 2020
Responsible and empathetic call. Well done!— Chris Sleep (@SleepCmsleep) January 17, 2020
“Given the huge resources Parks Victoria has invested in fighting fires and protecting our parks and people over recent weeks, the Victorian government has decided to cancel this year’s fireworks at Docklands,” a government spokeswoman said, according to The Age.
“While we understand that this decision may disappoint some families, the focus right now of Parks Victoria is, and has to be, on working with our other emergency services in the firefighting effort and the recovery of communities and wildlife.”
The news comes after thousands of Australians petitioned for the cancellation of New Years Eve fireworks events, calling insensitive, and wasteful during a time of national crisis.
Melbourne’s annual Docklands fireworks attract approximately 25,000 people along the Harbour Esplanade every year.
Other Australia Day/Invasion Day events will continue as planned, with many councils taking time to acknowledge the ongoing bushfire crisis within their formal proceedings throughout the day.