News, Police Rounds

Police warn to play safe on NYE

Wollongong will see in the new year with a massive fireworks display over the harbour. PHOTO: Wollongong.com

Wollongong will see in the new year with a massive fireworks display over the harbour. PHOTO: Wollongong.com

SENIOR police are reminding revellers to ‘Play Safe, Stay Safe’ ahead of tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebrations in Wollongong and Sydney.

More than 15,000 people are expected to gather around Wollongong City’s forshore this evening to see in 2013.

The family-friendly, alcohol free New Year Eve event includes live music from the City of Wollongong Brass Band and jazz group The Cats O’ Plenty, amusement rides and a wide selection of food stands. There’ll also be face-painting, show bags and stalls selling a range of glow-in-the-dark knickknacks.

More than 1.5 million people expected to flock to Sydney’s CBD, with 3000 police officers deployed as part of ‘Operation Paramount’ to ensure a safe and enjoyable event.

The highlight of Wollongong’s night is a spectacular fireworks display at 9.30pm. The fireworks are sponsored by Bulli-based manufacturing company Vesuvius Australia.

Before the fireworks, there’ll be a special laser show that’ll be focused on and around the old lighthouse at Belmore Basin.

Wollongong City Council’s New Year’s Eve celebrations are always a highlight for Illawarra families, Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery said.

“Our New Year’s Eve event offers a little something for everyone – great food, rides and live entertainment, as well as the chance to come and support the local basketball team who are doing the city proud at the moment. Factor in some top fireworks and that you can be home in time to watch Sydney’s midnight fireworks on television and it’s the perfect night out I think,’’ Cr Bradbery said.

Members of the Wollongong Hawks will drop into the festivities to sign autographs and meet fans following their match against the Melbourne Tigers at the Wollongong Entertainment Centre. Tip-off is at 6.30pm.

The amusement rides in Lang Park will also be open on New Year’s Day.

The highly-visible operation will involve general duties police as well as officers from specialist commands, including the Police Transport Command, Traffic and Highway Patrol Command, Public Order & Riot Squad, Operations Support Group, Licensing Police, Mounted Section, Dog Unit, Marine Area Command and PolAir.

Operation Paramount Commander, Assistant Commissioner Alan Clarke, said police will be working with the City of Sydney, event organisers and other government agencies to provide a safe and secure environment.

“This year, there will be more family-friendly vantage points than ever before, with a strong police presence, additional alcohol-free zones, increased security and improved barricading systems,” Assistant Commissioner Clarke said.

Anyone travelling into Sydney today is urged to visit the City of Sydney’s New Year’s Eve event page: www.sydneynewyearseve.com for accurate event details, changes to traffic conditions, public transport advice and information on venues and alcohol-free zones.

Smartphone users can download the Sydney NYE12 app for information on-the-go by visiting: www.sydneynewyearseve.com/app

Comprehensive New Year’s Eve transport information can be obtained by logging onto the events page at www.131500.com.au or by calling 131 500.

More information about road closures and special event clearways in the Sydney CBD, around the harbour foreshore and various council areas are available at livetraffic.com

For anyone heading out onto the water, exclusion zones and movement times apply. Please visit www.rms.nsw.gov.au and follow the links to Maritime for details.

Tips to ensure you have a safe NYE:

• Check event websites and guides for details on venue access and alcohol-free zones
• Plan your trip to and from the event – plan to catch public transport
• Check relevant websites for all traffic information
• Factor in possible delays and be patient
• Plan for possible changes to weather conditions and pack appropriate attire
• Pack water in case of hot weather
• Ensure you have contact details for friends and relatives in case of an emergency

About Mick Roberts

A newspaper journalist, writer and local historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of pubs, inns and associated industries in the Sydney and Illawarra regions of NSW for over 30 years. He is currently working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides authoring a number of history books, Mick has owned and operated several community newspapers. He was one time editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limted), Sydney based, City News, and is now with Torch Publications.

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