Since last week, Australia has been facing catastrophic weather conditions. Firefighters continue to battle blazes that have destroyed hundreds of homes and have sadly resulted in the loss of four lives.
When you compound that with Australia’s ongoing drought, it’s understandable that people in this country want real, tangible change – and it seems as though Sydney’s iconic New Year’s Eve fireworks have become a source of contention in the process.
Thousands of people have signed multiple Change.org petitions asking for the millions of dollars being put into Sydney’s NYE fireworks be put into drought and bushfire relief instead.
One of the petitions, addressing Prime Minister Scott Morrison, states “with Australia facing drought and now catastrophic fires, decimating towns as it tears across our country, the thought of spending MILLIONS of dollars on a firework display when it could be used to support and rebuild our country instead of infuriating.”
Another asks Lord Mayor Clover Moore to donate a percentage of the profits of the Sydney NYE fireworks to the bushfire appeal.
The petitions come just a few days after an on-water fireworks display on Sydney Harbour was cancelled for being in ‘shockingly bad taste” given the current bushfire crisis.
There’s no denying that the Australian government and community needs to be doing everything we can for those struggling in bushfire and drought affected areas, but it’s worth keeping in mind the amount of money the NYE fireworks brings to the economy.
According to the City of Sydney, the fireworks bring a whopping $133M to the local economy. The annual event is also a big deal for tourism with 1M people attending and 1 BILLION people watching the display around the world.
In a perfect world, we’d be able to help those in need and continue Sydney’s NYE tradition – but sadly, we can’t always have it both ways.
Following the 2015 terror attacks, authorities in Paris cancelled the NYE fireworks display and opted for an “atmosphere of sobriety” instead. Perhaps there is a way Australia can take note, scale back and show respect for those affected by bushfire and drought without sacrificing benefit to the local economy.