Sydney kicks off New Year's Eve celebrations with fireworks display
SYDNEY - Reuters
The planned spectacle is going ahead despite calls from some members of the public for the fireworks to be canceled, in solidarity with fire-hit areas in New South Wales (NSW) of which Sydney is the capital city.
Elsewhere in Australia, thousands of people were trapped on the country's east coast by fierce fires, as the government readied naval vessels and military helicopters to aid firefighting and evacuations.
"Tonight we expect a million people around the Harbor and a billion people around the world to watch Sydney's New Year Eve celebrations, which is Australia's biggest public event," City of Sydney mayor Clover Moore told reporters.
Responding to calls to cancel the event and reallocate the funding to fire-affected regions, Moore said planning for the fireworks began 15 months ago and most of the budget had already been allocated. The event was also a boost to NSW's economy.