Sunday, December 17, 2006

City Council extravaganza under fire

$145,000 and 10 minuets of excitement spent creating a fire risk

Melbourne City Council's proposed expenditure of over $800,000 including $145,000 on a fireworks extravaganza has come under fire and labeled as irresponsible and a waste of ratepayers' money.

The proposed fireworks display represents a serious risk of fire at a time when Melbourne is experiencing one of the severest droughts on records and fire risk is at an all time high.

Responsible government and good use of limited public resources? We think not so.

Cracker night gets a rocket
Kate Adamson
December 17, 2006 12:00am

Source: Herald Sun
A $145,000 city fireworks extravaganza on New Year's Eve has been condemned as a waste of ratepayers' money.

The fireworks splurge should instead be spent aiding volunteer firefighters battling blazes raging across Victoria, business and farming bodies say.

Melbourne Council has committed $145,000 to the city display, which will be set to rock music. Another $700,000 will be spent on live bands, DJs, films and Bollywood dance lessons for city revellers.

The calls come as several other fireworks displays across Victoria are in doubt amid bushfires and drought.

Victorian Farmers' Federation president Simon Ramsay said the money would be better spent helping firefighters and their families.

"The council is spending $145,000 for two minutes of entertainment for the benefit of a small number of people while the rest of Victoria is fighting fires," Mr Ramsay said. "A sign of good faith would be to donate the costs of the entertainment to the fire effort."

Melbourne Business Council chairman Peter Nicoll agreed.

"I am sure the people of Melbourne would understand and perceive this as their civic duty," Mr Nicoll said.

"It would definitely be the right way to go."

Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Neil Coulson said the council should tone down the celebrations.

"It has been an unusually difficult year for many businesses in regional Victoria because of drought and bushfires," Mr Coulson said. "Any city New Year's Eve celebrations should take this into account," he said.

Other New Year's Eve fireworks across the state could be scrapped over fears they might spark blazes.

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