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'This is not the year': Canberra cancels fireworks

January 10, 2020 11:24 am
New Year's Eve fireworks went ahead in Sydney despite a total fire ban in New South Wales and other states of Australia. Photo: AFP

The Australian Capital Territory and its neighbouring town of Queanbeyan have cancelled this year’s fireworks displays.

The pyrotechnics are usually set off at music concerts during the holiday celebrations in both places.

While the concerts will go ahead, the events will now focus on raising money for people affected by the New South Wales bushfire crisis, which has ravaged the region.

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The ACT’s Acting Arts Minister, Rachel Stephen-Smith, said the display was ruled out because of the harsh summer conditions and the ongoing fire disaster.

“While our neighbours continue to battle bushfires, and with our emergency services personnel on alert and unpredictable weather in the weeks ahead, this is not the year for us to celebrate with fireworks,” Stephen-Smith said.

“Rather, Australia Day is an opportunity for us to acknowledge the many Australians who are currently engaged in efforts to reduce the harm and trauma caused by bushfires this season.”

The Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council, which governs an area affected by two huge blazes, announced earlier it would also withdraw its planned fireworks.

“Instead, funds will be put towards a donation to bushfire relief,” the council said in a statement.

Late last month, the ACT government cancelled Canberra’s New Year’s Eve fireworks, which would have coincided with a total fire ban.

However, the country’s biggest end-of-year display, in Sydney Harbour, went ahead in similar circumstances despite widespread criticism that it posed a fire risk.

 

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