Fireworks for the 2020 New Year’s Eve event at the Emerald Jockey Club will not be funded by Council.
Fireworks for the 2020 New Year’s Eve event at the Emerald Jockey Club will not be funded by Council.

Sky may not light up at New Year’s celebrations

NEW Year’s Eve celebrations may not light up this year, with the usual funding for the fireworks display not going ahead.

Since 2016, Central Highlands Regional Council’s communities’ department has allocated a $10,000 budget for the fireworks at the annual New Year’s Eve race day at Emerald’s Pioneer Park.

The Emerald Jockey Club has approached Council in writing to support this year’s event, although general manager of Communities John McDougall said the funding hadn’t been allocated in this year’s budget.

He said he was unaware of the previous commitment by Council and brought the issue to Councillors at today’s general council meeting to determine if the funding would be made available.

Councillor Gai Sypher said she was “going to be a bit of a party pooper” and was not in favour of sponsoring the event.

She said the fireworks display shouldn’t go ahead because they weren’t great for the environment, the danger of fires during a dry season, and because it hadn’t originally been included in the budget.

“I want to know where the money is coming from in the budget if it hasn’t been budgeted for,” she said.

“We can’t just go print some monopoly money to pass over to them.”

Cr Megan Daniels recognised it was an event that attracted families from across the region, who looked forward to seeing the fireworks display each year.

“I am supportive of this. I wish it was in the budget,” she said.

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The annual community event generally hosts two fireworks displays, one earlier in the evening for families with young children, and one later in the night for older children.

It also hosts a number of horse races as well as live entertainment, children’s entertainment and more.

Mayor Kerry Hayes said it was “quite a large amount of money” to contribute to one single event.

“My moral standing on this is it’s a significant amount of money and unless there was a standing motion on the table to say we support this year in and year out, I wouldn’t budget for it either,” Mr McDougall said.

Councillors decided that Council would not support the donation for fireworks for the 2020 New Year’s Eve celebration.

The decision was moved by Ms Sypher and seconded by Cr Christine Rolfe. Ms Daniels and Cr Brimblecombe voted against the decision.

The fireworks will only go ahead if the Emerald Jockey Club funds it.