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Sydney New Year's Eve: Over $3m raised for bushfire relief

Cancelling the fireworks would have little practical benefit for affected communities.

Sydney New Year's Eve

We appreciate the concerns people had around holding the Sydney New Year's Eve fireworks while large parts of Australia deal with bushfires and drought. And we heard the calls from people to cancel the event and donate the budget to relief efforts.

But we couldn't cancel the New Year’s Eve celebrations. It would have had little practical benefit for affected communities.

We began preparations for the New Year's Eve celebrations 15 months ago. This means most of the budget, largely used for crowd safety and cleaning measures, had already been spent.

Cancelling the event would have hurt Sydney businesses. It would also ruin plans for tens of thousands of people from across the country and overseas who have booked flights, hotels and restaurants for New Year’s Eve.

Fundraising on New Year's Eve

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Rather than cancelling New Year's Eve, we donated $620,000 to support communities and wildlife impacted by bushfire and drought, and offered our trucks and staff to help emergency services with clean-up and recovery efforts.

We also promoted an online fundraiser for the Red Cross Disaster Recovery and Relief Fund in the lead-up to and on New Year’s Eve.

We chose Red Cross following discussions with NSW Rural Fire Service who advised it's not conducting a relief appeal.

The City of Sydney is supporting the Red Cross Disaster Recovery and Relief Fund. Image: Red Cross
The City of Sydney is supporting the Red Cross Disaster Recovery and Relief Fund. Image: Red Cross

During the broadcast and on the night, we encouraged those gathered around the harbour and watching at home to give generously.

The Australian Red Cross Relief and Recovery fund is specifically set up to give people support when disasters happen.

This fund has already helped support more than 13,500 Australians at evacuation centres, recovery hubs and over the phone when disasters strike.

Cash grants of $2,000 are provided to people who have lost their homes in the recent bushfires, so they can meet everyday expenses.

The fund helps Red Cross emergency volunteers get to disaster-affected areas, covers their expenses and funds their equipment and training.

Red Cross can now be there whenever a disaster strikes and stay afterward to help people and communities recover.

The event will also support our official charity partner, the Refugee Council of Australia, as we begin 2020: The Year of Welcome.

Watched by millions

The display is watched by 1 billion people worldwide, showcasing Sydney as a safe, inclusive and attractive place to visit.

Sydney New Year’s Eve generates $130 million for the NSW economy and super charges our tourism industry, creating jobs and supporting countless small businesses.

Over $3m raised

So far $3m has been raised, with donations still open.

We've used the power of the event to support people affected by the bushfires.

Please consider joining us in donating.

On behalf of everyone at the City of Sydney, we wish you a happy new year.

Published 1 January 2020, updated 2 January 2020