NYE fireworks return to COVID-hit Brisbane

Laine Clark |

Queensland will see off 2021 with a bang, with fireworks to return to Brisbane after a COVID hiatus.
Queensland will see off 2021 with a bang, with fireworks to return to Brisbane after a COVID hiatus.

Fears COVID-19 will spread like wildfire on Brisbane public transport on New Year’s Eve have been allayed by Police Minister Mark Ryan.

Queenslanders are set to let their hair down when NYE celebrations are held across the state, especially in Brisbane with fireworks returning after being cancelled in 2020 due to the virus.

New COVID-19 case numbers in the state have reached record levels, with 3118 recorded on the final day of 2021.

Queensland’s Rail Train and Bus Union feared buses packed to capacity by NYE revellers would only make the COVID-19 outbreak worse.

“With Omicron running rampant here the prospect is frightening,” an RTBU statement said.

“I cannot believe they are dropping the COVID safety measure of filling buses to a seated load only at this time – it is insane.

“It puts hundreds of bus drivers and thousands of passengers at unnecessary risk.”

Police Minister Mark Ryan said he was comfortable with festivities going ahead but urged revellers to do the right thing.

“It’s important people practise COVID-safe measures. There will be places from time to time that are busy – people need to use common sense,” Mr Ryan said when asked about the RTBU’s concerns.

“I am pleading with people – if you are not feeling well you shouldn’t be out celebrating New Year’s Eve.”

Mr Ryan said Queensland Police were ready to handle NYE crowds with only “a couple of dozen” officers isolating after COVID-19 contact.

He said hundreds of officers would be on duty in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

“We have sufficient resources. Police will be out and about to make sure people stay safe,” Mr Ryan said.

“If people want to push the boundaries then the police will be there to intervene.

“Plan your trip. Please make sure New Year’s Eve is a great celebration for you and your community by doing the right thing.”

Thousands of people are set to attend fireworks events across the state, including two 10-minute displays at South Bank, starting on the Brisbane River at 8.30pm and midnight AEST.

The South Bank display will feature more than six tonnes of fireworks and 60,000 pyrotechnic displays.