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Australia prepares to welcome new year

Fireworks will be a feature of many New Year's Eve celebrations around the country. (file pic)

Fireworks will be a feature of many New Year’s Eve celebrations around the country. (file pic)

The countdown is on for revellers keen to farewell 2015 and ring in the new year.

Thousands are expected to flock to fireworks displays around the country but the message for everyone is to stay safe.

‘Look after your mates, it’s important we can finish the night on a high and that can only be done if you protect your friends,’ NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Fuller said.

Similar messages are being spread by police forces around the nation who have warned there will be extra patrols to deal with those breaking the law.

With warm weather forecast paramedics are also gearing up for their busiest night of the year.

‘We’ve got a combination of heat and unfortunately alcohol and they are a lethal mix,’ Ambulance Victoria state health commander Paul Holman said.

Temperatures are expected to hit 40C in Melbourne where 10 tonnes of fireworks will be set off in what Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has predicted will be the “biggest and best ever”.

But it will be a mellower welcome for 2016 in fire-ravaged parts of Victoria where fireworks displays have been cancelled.

A Total Fire Ban has been declared as an out of control bushfire is still burning in the state’s southwest where residents have been told to leave before it’s too late.

For the young revellers and those unable to stay awake for the midnight shows, family fireworks are planned in most capital cities earlier in the evening.

Those planning on having a few drinks to welcome 2016 are also being reminded to take advantage of extended public transport hours.


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