As debate rages over whether to cancel Sydney’s New Year’s Eve fireworks, a woman personally touched by the bushfires crisis has made a public request.
The woman, who previously said she’d been in favour of shutting down the fireworks this year, has changed her mind since losing most of her possessions to a bushfire.
Coverage of the ongoing fight over whether to can the fireworks display – NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro is the latest to say it shouldn’t go ahead – has attracted plenty of comments from news.com.au readers.
But one from an actual victim of the bushfires crisis stood out for its powerful sentiment and a plea to retain the “bright distraction of fireworks”.
The woman wrote she’d been in the process of moving house when a fast-moving fire “annihilated” her and her family’s possessions that had been put into temporary storage in a shed.
“It’s been heartbreaking” she said, saying she’d lost virtually everything she owned including “most family treasures, (dating) back to the 1800s”.
The possessions belonged to her and her elderly family members, her mother, 90, and another family member, 92.
“The firefighters (and a big thanks to all the RFS for their endless work) saved the almost empty house, not knowing it was the machinery shed (holding) almost all of our possessions,” she said.
She explained that after the devastating loss, she was staying with a friend, who drove her around to look at Christmas lights.
“It was such a relief and a bright, happy break from the grief.”
She continued: “Even though I (previously) suggested a Vivid-like light show … I realise it’s too late, and the money is already spent.
“I’m actually looking forward to a bright distraction of fireworks to bring in a new, hopefully far better and brighter year, a new beginning, and our own loss has made me have this change of heart.”
Debate over whether or not the fireworks are “disrespectful” to victims of the bushfire crisis has raged in recent days, with many feeling the fireworks may pose a risk, and smoke caused by the explosions may cause upset.
Others, however, felt the campaign to shut down New Year’s Eve celebrations was unhelpful to firefighters and victims of the fires.
An online petition has called for all fireworks around Australia to be cancelled this year, saying the millions spent by councils around the country should be reallocated to “farmers and firefighters” and those who care for injured wildlife.
“All states should say NO to FIREWORKS,” a Change.org petition, which has attracted more than 270,400 signatures demanded.
“This may traumatise some people as there is enough smoke in the air.”
The sentiment of the petition was supported by NSW deputy premier John Barilaro, who said lighting fireworks posed too much risk, and was disrespectful to volunteer fireys.
Police today announced they’ll be working closely with emergency services to assist what is expected to be more than a million revellers, lining the Opera House foreshore, and other firework vantage points around Sydney.
“What’s different this year is that we have over the last months and weeks known that the fires around our state have brought a considerable amount of dust and smoke around the Sydney CBD,” Deputy Commissioner Gary Worboys said today.
“Around this Sydney CBD will be one of those hotter days,” Deputy Commissioner Worboys said, adding that police would be working closely with emergency services around the city to assist the crowds of people expected in the city throughout the day and into the early hours of the morning.