The volunteers organising Dubbo's New Year's Eve fireworks say they are surprised at a social media backlash against the event and just want to do something positive for local families.
As bushfires continued to wreak havoc across Australia and drought conditions worsened, Facebook users questioned whether the money spent on Dubbo's fireworks could be put to better use and expressed fears about the potential unnecessary fire risk the event could create.
Despite the criticism and cancellation of fireworks in places like Orange, Dubbo Show Society secretary Sue Hood says the event is still happening on Tuesday night unless the Rural Fire Service (RFS) enforces a total fire ban in the Dubbo Regional Council area and does not grant an exemption for the event.
She said the Fletcher family was paying for the fireworks because they wanted to give families with young children something to do.
"Nobody is gaining anything out of this except the people who come and experience it," Ms Hood said.
Gold coin donations made by event attendees will be given to local organisations like the Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA) and Girl Guides, Ms Hood said.
While fireworks will be the main highlight, the event will include music and other activities for children.
"We just hope that people in Dubbo do support it," Ms Hood said.
Critics were "entitled to their opinion" but in response to suggestions money spent on fireworks should be given to drought hit farmers, Ms Hood said "the bit of money that's being spent on the fireworks wouldn't buy a farmer water for a week".
Tuesday is looking like another potentially trying day on some of the fire grounds, with #Extreme#Severe & Very High #Fire Danger Ratings across much of #NSWhttps://t.co/t4ve8lJjos. Also looking at a warm day for people heading out early ahead of New Years celebrations pic.twitter.com/lP4YhkYuwp— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) December 29, 2019
The 2019 fireworks display is being put on by Steve Lee from Inland Fireworks.
He said the display would be "at least twice as big" as the one he puts on at the Dubbo Show every year.
"It'll be the biggest fireworks display in Dubbo," Mr Lee suggested.
"I've got a lot of new product we've imported... there'll be three launch points and it's going to be like a wall of fireworks."
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Mr Lee, who has been in the fireworks business since 1998, said he believed the fireworks would likely go ahead.
"If the fire danger became extreme or catastrophic we would pull them," he said.
"It's extremely rare for fireworks to start fires."
The RFS fire danger rating for Dubbo was high on Monday and Mr Lee said two fire trucks would be at the event to provide assistance if it was required.