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Sydney: 'We Can't Cancel' Show Despite Conditions

The city's NYE fireworks display will likely go on
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2019 2:40 PM CST
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In this Jan. 1, 2017, file photo, fireworks explode over the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge as New Year's celebrations are underway in Sydney.   (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft, File)
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(Newser) – Cancel its world-famous New Year's Eve fireworks show? No way, say Australian officials, despite concerns about holding the event while over 100 wildfires rage across the country, CNN reports. Under pressure to cancel, Sydney's Lord Mayor Clover Moore said she was "moved by the outpouring of support and care for the community" but won't budge, adding that "our fireworks are planned 15 months in advance and most of the budget—which is largely allocated to crowd safety and cleaning measures—has already been spent." The city council says it's already giving nearly $433,000 to "support communities and wildlife" affected by fires and drought, while canceling would "hurt Sydney businesses" and ruin plans for everyone visiting to see the show.

But Linda McCormick isn't so sure. She posted an online petition saying the show's budget should go to "farmers and firefighters," while the display itself could "traumatize some people as there is enough smoke in the air." She claims Sydney spent about $4 million on last year's show, which CNN couldn't confirm. Others note severe fire risk is expected Tuesday night as temperatures are forecast to hover around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, accompanied by strong northerly winds—which luckily are forecast to shift south before nightfall, per Australia's News Network. If weather looks dicey, officials say, they might cancel the fireworks or alter the ones they use. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the show tells the world "just how optimistic and positive we are as a country." (Read more Australia stories.)

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