A BOLD NEW YEAR
City crush to ease as fun spreads out
MELBOURNE’S New Year’s Eve party will rock the city and the suburbs as thousands ring in 2019.
More than 350,000 people are expected to flood the CBD, a number significantly down on previous years as more revellers opt to celebrate at suburban hotspots.
While fireworks will be launched from 22 city rooftops, celebrations will also roll out from Footscray Park to the Mornington Peninsula.
Having lured more than half a million people for the midnight entertainment in previous years, Melbourne City Council says the forecast drop isn’t due to safety concerns, but a strategy to disperse reveller numbers across key sites.
Maribyrnong Council is among local government areas hoping to ease the squeeze by hosting an early fireworks event from 9.30pm at Footscray Park.
St Kilda Beach will be another hotspot, with authorities confident there won’t be a repeat of recent gang-related violence.
Officers in the city have been granted power to conduct on-thespot searches of partygoers and vehicles in a declared zone stretching from Dudley, Peel and Victoria streets to the north, and Domain and St Kilda roads.
They will also be able to order someone wearing a face covering that conceals their identity to leave the area if they refuse to remove it.
Indigenous rap artist Adam Briggs will provide the soundtrack for the city when the clock strikes midnight.
The Shepparton-born musician’s tunes will echo across the CBD as Melbourne’s pyrotechnic team gives Sydney’s spectacular a run for its money.
Elsewhere, more relaxed celebrations are expected at popular tourist spots, including Wilson’s Prom, the Surf Coast and the Murray River.
Public transport will be free in Melbourne for 12 hours from 6pm, with night coach services also running to regional centres.
Weather bureau duty forecaster Richard Russell said mild weather was expected.
“Victoria will experience relatively clear conditions, perhaps a cooler night on the coast,” he said.
Melbourne temperatures are set to dip to a minimum of 15C, while warmer conditions are expected in the state’s north.
Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services acting deputy chief officer Adam Dalrymple urged those ringing in the new year to stay safe.
“We want everyone to enjoy the festivities but also want to remind people that the choices you make can affect others around you,” Mr Dalrymple said.
“Don’t be complacent as fires can and do happen.”
Over the past two summers, MFB firefighters have responded to 32 firework-related emergencies. Most were fires sparked by illegal fireworks — almost a third of the illegal firework incidents MFB responded to last year were caused by children.
“Fireworks should only be handled by a licensed pyrotechnician,” Mr Dalrymple said. “They can be dangerous and unpredictable when not used properly and can result in grass fires, property damage, serious burns and even death.
“The few seconds of fun are not worth it. Instead, enjoy the many free and legal displays being held across the city and Victoria.”
OLYMPIA Valance has learnt the beauty of being bold and is pledging to continue to take risks in the new year.The star said she had big plans for 2019, including a second season of the show and a film role.“I feel like I got my groove back this year,” Valance said. “It was a big turning point for my career. I feel great about 2018 but I am so excited about 2019.”Valance was checking out the final preparations for the New Year’s Eve Secret Garden Rooftop Party at Crown Aviary yesterday.She said those looking for a change in the new year should look within.“Trust your gut. I always say your gut feeling is actually guardian angels putting you on the right path,” she said.“I have had some business ideas boiling and my plan is to bring them to life next year.” The Poppel clan (top) and other holiday-makers relax on the Lodden River, at Baringhup, while Archer and Darby (far right) have of fun at Wilsons Promontory. Pictures: ROB LEESON Olympia Valance is on top of the world at Crown. Picture: NICKI CONNOLLY