Fireworks industry ‘devastated’ by fire danger

A GOLD Coast pyrotechnician has suggested the city use Christmas fireworks displays to fundraise for those affected by bushfires.

It comes after Mayor Tom Tate announced council's annual Christmas Carols fireworks finale would be axed due to the fire threat, the first time in the event's history they've been cancelled.

Mayor Tate personally made the call yesterday morning.

"I made the decision that now is not the right time to be holding a fireworks display," he told the Bulletin.

The fireworks have been deemed inappropriate.
The fireworks have been deemed inappropriate.

"People are suffering around Queensland and Australia following the disastrous bushfires.

"We need to respect that and in my opinion it would be immoral to be letting off fireworks at this time."

He also cited air pollution, fire danger and the use of much-needed resources as other reasons for the cancellation.

However Skylighter Fireworks CEO Max Brunner has said the decision, along with other Gold Coast groups canning their displays, could harm an already "devastated" industry.

He suggested the council to follow in the footsteps of Sydney's Lord Mayor, who announced she would use the display to fundraise for drought and fire affected communities.

"When the floods happened in 2011, our company and many others pyrotechnics donated fireworks displays to recovery events," Mr Brunner said.

Mayor Tom Tate personally made the decision. Pics: Tim Marsden
Mayor Tom Tate personally made the decision. Pics: Tim Marsden

"It was to lift people's spirits, to unite people. It's not that we're celebrating and not considering our neighbours.

"If we did a gold coin collection, brought the people together, maybe we can still have the fireworks, give the money back to the community as best we can."

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Many fireworks providers have been unable to work since the State of Fire Emergency Declaration on November 9, which banned outdoor fireworks displays across the state.

"The longer it goes the worse it is, but if we don't do New Year's Eve there will be family businesses that are just bust," he said.

Skylighter Fireworks owner Max Brunner has suggested using the fireworks as a fundraiser. Photograph : Jason O'Brien
Skylighter Fireworks owner Max Brunner has suggested using the fireworks as a fundraiser. Photograph : Jason O'Brien

"December for many fireworks companies makes up 30 per cent of their business, if not more.

"We employ a lot of people, it's not just my family, I'm responsible for feeding many people's families, and that's quite a burden in challenging times."

Skylighter is currently contracted for several New Year's Eve displays around the Gold Coast, with Mr Brunner saying most events would not pay if they didn't go ahead.

Pacific Pines Christmas Carols and the Tweed Heads West Seagulls club have also cancelled their fireworks displays.


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