Decision Maker Response

Clover Moore’s response

Dec 10, 2019 — Dear petition signers,

I have been moved by the outpouring of support and care the community has shown for those affected by the bushfires.

While we've seen some of the worst of extreme fire, we've also seen the best of humanity – NSW Rural Fire Service volunteers rushed to protect people and property, and communities have come together to look after each other.

And many, including you, have looked for ways governments can further support those doing it really tough at this time. I appreciate your calls to cancel our New Year’s Eve fireworks and reallocate the funding to bushfire relief.

I also share your deep sympathies and recently directed Council to donate over $600,000 to bushfire and drought relief, as well as sending our trucks and staff to help emergency services with clean-up and recovery efforts.

Our fireworks are planned 15 months in advance and most of the budget – which is largely allocated to crowd safety and cleaning measures – has already been spent. And with just weeks to go, many have already booked hotels and restaurants and planned their trip to watch the fireworks. This event generates $130 million for the state economy, which helps many people.

I know this isn’t exactly what you would like to be hearing from me, but we can't cancel the fireworks and even if we could, doing so would have little practical benefit.

Over the last fortnight however we, as a Council, have been moved to do more.

We have committed to harnessing the enormous power of the event, which brings a million people together around our harbour, to raise more money for the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.

In all marketing materials, during the broadcast and on the night, we will be reminding those who visit our harbour and who watch at home to give generously.

The event will also support our existing charity partner, the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), as we commence 2020: The Year of Welcome.

The City's fireworks will be carbon offset, and are biodegradable in order to reduce waste and environmental impact.

New Year’s Eve unites people from all over the world with a message of hope for the year to come. I’m glad that this event will do that while helping support those in need.

As we reflect on the tragic devastation of the bushfires, we have to acknowledge that successive Federal Governments have shamefully presided over a failed climate policies. Australia’s emissions have been going up since 2014 and these bushfires are just one of the recent extreme weather events made worse by catastrophic climate change

Earlier this year the City declared a Climate Emergency, calling on the Federal Government to reintroduce a price on carbon to meet the Paris Agreement emissions reduction targets, and establishing a Just Transition Authority to ensure Australians employed in fossil fuel industries find appropriate alternate employment.

We have also recently signed a contract to use 100% renewable electricity from July next year, and will reduce our emissions by 70% on 2006 levels by 2024, four years ahead of schedule.

As long as I am Lord Mayor I will lead a Council committed to taking real and meaningful climate action, and I will continue to push State and Federal Governments to do the same.

If you would like to donate to our bushfire appeal you can do so here:
https://www.redcross.org.au/campaigns/disaster-relief-and-recovery-bushfires and I would also encourage you to spend time on Change.org calling on the Federal Government to take urgent action on climate change.

Clover.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore, City of Sydney