Sydney’s mayor has been criticised, with suggestions the city was “crackers” to go ahead with a fireworks display as bushfires rage.
Sydney’s Lord Mayor has been labelled “crackers” for defending the city going ahead with its world famous fireworks despite the state suffering through one of its worst ever days of bushfire destruction.
Two people have died, thousands evacuated, scores of homes destroyed and buildings on the historic main street of Cobargo razed to the ground.
Yet, tonight, Sydney’s skies were ablaze with explosives.
The 9pm (AEDT) fireworks were briefly delayed due to strong winds.
The City of Sydney has come under heavy criticism for persevering with its fireworks display while shows elsewhere have been cancelled. The Rural Fire Service gave the display the green light yesterday. It’s location means the fireworks occur over water rather than parched land.
Today, Lord Mayor Clover Moore defended going ahead with the massive pageant and said climate change was the real issue.
Ms Moore said the cash for the event has already been allocated and it would generate $130 million for the NSW economy. The council has donated $620,000 to bushfire and drought-affected communities and revellers will be encouraged to donate more tonight.
“The compelling issue here is climate change,” she told reporters on Tuesday.
“People have lost homes, people have died, firefighters have been killed defending communities. As the driest continent on earth we’re at the forefront of accelerating global warming.
“What is happening is a wake up call for our governments to start making effective contributions to reducing global emissions.”
However, Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese said it was “problematic” the foreshore firework display was proceeding.
“I understand how important the fireworks are for our economy, but I just think at a time like this, I think that it’s really problematic that it’s going ahead,” Mr Albanese told reporters in Brisbane.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has admitted to “mixed feelings” about the fireworks display in Sydney amid elevated bushfire risk and the death of a volunteer firefighter near the NSW-Victoria border. However, she has given the event her backing.
The Mayor has been criticised online. Channel 10 weather presenter Tim Baily said “Clover Moore is absolutely crackers. We will never forget this moment of insanity. Never forgive it.”
Channel 7 host Samantha Armytage weighed after she was evacuated to Narooma on the NSW far South Coast.
The Sunrise host said the show was “inappropriate” she’d “go after” the council if they went ahead with their fireworks display.