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May 9, 2021

Far North Coast councils ditch NYE fireworks

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Previous NYE fireworks at Brunswick Heads. Photo Tree Faerie.

It would seem that fireworks are soon to be a thing of the past with many in the private sector deciding on a different form of entertainment for New Year’s Eve.

Local governments have been leaning towards fireworks-free events in recent years and the Far North Coast will likely enjoy starry skies in the dawning minutes of 2020.

Last week Tweed Council voted 4–3 to ditch fireworks for this year’s event at least. The resolution pushed over the line by councillors Byrnes, Cherry, Cooper, and Milne, argues that the extreme fire threat currently occurring and predicted to be still in place at New Year’s Eve was enough for Council to refrain from holding their annual fireworks event at Jack Evans Boatharbour.

They also noted that Seagulls Club, Twin Towns Club as well as several other local government areas including the City of Gold Coast, Sydney City and Brisbane City have cancelled their fireworks events for New Year’s Eve 2019/2020.

Impact on animals significant

Tweed Mayor Katie Milne said she was eager to have council look at the impact of fireworks in the shire and investigate alternatives. ‘The impact on native and domestic animals is significant,’ says Cr Milne. ‘For example, dogs have three times greater sensitivity of hearing than humans do. In the Tweed we have one of the highest number of threatened species. There are bats, birds and other animals that are seriously disturbed by fireworks who leave their nests and then don’t come back to the roost due to the noise pollution.

Cr Milne said birds also get so scared that they often fly into trees or run onto roads and are killed.

‘We need to give non-human species more consideration.’

Byron Council says there will be no fireworks this year. In general, Byron Council is not a supporter of fireworks and people planning events involving fireworks need to obtain a licence from Safework NSW.

The only fireworks Lismore Council had planned were at the Carols in the Heart event, but they have since cancelled these fireworks owing to the drought and bushfire conditions. Additional activities and entertainment will be programmed to compensate.

Council says that there may be other events run by private companies in the region where fireworks are planned, but whether or not these go ahead is at the discretion of the event organisers.

Potential to cause short and long term stress

The Tweed resolution noted that fireworks have a significant potential to cause short and long term stress, disturbance and even death to both domestic and farm animals and to native wildlife and the Animal Liberation group has thrown its support behind council’s motion to review and consider the animal welfare and the environmental issues associated with fireworks.

Animal Liberation’s Chief Executive, Lynda Stoner said it’s very refreshing to see a local government council taking proactive steps to reduce harm and stress to non-human animals, and factor in genuine consideration of all those we share this planet with, through council business and decision making including, how public money is allocated.

‘Of course we support community coming together to celebrate and especially all our NSW communities who are doing it very tough with the extreme drought conditions and terrible bushfires, but we know it’s possible to celebrate and support each other in ways that do not harm our animal friends and environment, or pose any potential additional fire risks.

Proactive approach

‘We commend council’s innovative approach with this fireworks review and hoped all Tweed shire councillors would support this motion, and that other NSW councils follow the proactive approach and leadership being taken by Tweed Council.’

Cr Milne says she hopes that everyone will seek out other ways to have fun at the turn of the year. ‘There is a risk of fire hazard from the fireworks. We have some very important native vegetation and bushland in areas like Fingal Head that need to be protected,’ she said. ‘We will be looking at solutions like silent fireworks, a laser light show and lantern parades as alternative options’.

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  1. Fireworks are just a tradition that we can live without. We do not need them to be ‘entertained’. The story could mention the thousands of dollars that normally go up in smoke which can now be spent on better things. Perhaps to support councils to spend on fire prevention across suburbs and bushlands, and support their RFS stations with their needs, that have been cut by State Govts, in the name of economic rationalism, but that are essential to fire fighting.

  2. I support the cessation of fireworks, even though they have traditionally been part of celebrations. Cr Milne’s comments are on the mark. I live near a bat and ibis colony in Lismore and witness the distress caused to these native animals each fireworks event. One additional point is the toxic / pollution factor of fireworks. They may contain cadmium, lithium, antimony, rubidium, strontium, lead, and potassium nitrate which can cause respiratory and other health problems.

    I will miss fireworks, which form an important part of my childhood memories – but I am sure that substitutes such as laser lights will likewise form memorable experiences for children in the future.

  3. Great to hear of fireworks ban !!”**
    (I am old &,loved ‘cracker night around a big bon fire. ) BUT Times are very different now & celebrations should &can be alot safer.!
    I live in Sydney & the thought of the fireworks is scarry. !! We cannot breath freely here .

  4. Welcome to the soviet socialist state of the Northern rivers. Killjoys. Kill any anything that’s enjoyable that’s not sanctioned by greens.

  5. I completely support the cessation of fireworks.. I hope it becomes Australia wide .. The negative impact on wildlife birds and animals as well as domestic animals and livestock is massive – It is a very stressful time for those who are passionate about the welfare of animals and many wildlife carers are overwhelmed at this time of the year.. ….AND THEN THERE IS THE FIRE DANGER ! . yes ..please…. I do think we can use the money for something far more important .. There are other alternatives… lets look at those ..By the way this is a world wide problem.. I believe fireworks have been banned due to impact on animal species on the Galapagos islands too?? correct me if i’m wrong? By the way..thats not being a killjoy..Its respecting the welfare of others who don’t have a voice …..

    • Nonsense. What business besides pubs and clubs are open that time of night on NYE? The only obscene waste of money this NYE will be on grog not fireworks. Surely the reduced risk of fires and injury, and the proven trauma to all animals for 10 minutes of boring fun is as much a consideration as someone making money selling or operating fireworks. Times change.

  6. Is there nothing that we can.look fwd to anymore ?
    Where is the joy in living and coming together.
    NYE fireworks always bought happiness for 30mins and bought large groups of people with smiling faces for just one time in a year.
    Im gutted and more than that just SAD…
    life has lost so much of its pleasurable traditions..?

    • So the severity of the drought and the major risk of fireworks starting fires – let alone impacts on pets and wildlife is not worth worrying about then? Or the MASSIVE waste of money that goes up in 10 mins of smoke? This is not the only activity that makes large groups of people smile for just one time a year. It’s a pretty lonely sad existence to rely on NYE fireworks to provide joy and get together. Might I suggest something meaningful like spending time with friends and family, volunteering for charity or wildlife groups or the RFS, even playing music or sport.
      Times change. Get with the program.


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