Celebrate and live to see New Year

“REMEMBER that everyone else is celebrating too,” was the simple, commonsense advice from Gympie district police to New Year’s Eve revellers tonight.

“Look after yourselves and be aware and respectful of all the other people who are also out celebrating,” a spokesperson said yesterday.

Bulk crowds are expected at entertainment venues from Imbil to Rainbow tonight, as thousands of Gympie Region residents and their friends set out to see the New Year (and the new decade) in, with all the traditional noise, lights and partying that this traditionally entails.

Despite a few drink-drivers detected from Tuesday evening to late yesterday, including one major offender who blew 0.171 per cent, police have generally praised the good conduct of residents and visitors, both at their campsites and holiday homes and on the roads getting there.

And, in order to avoid fireworks of the police and court-related kind, Mines and Energy Minister Stephen Robertson has urged Queenslanders to obey all the rules when it comes to New Year’s fireworks displays.

He also joined the RSPCA in urging pet owners to keep their animals safe and confined for the evening, as dogs can be frightened by fireworks.

Even if they are found after becoming distressed and escaping from their homes, dogs will sometimes only turn up several kilometres away, he said.

Gympie Ambulance officer in charge, Wayne Sachs, said the Gympie Region had been reasonably safe during the festive season so far, except for an accident on Monday night, which resulted in a woman being airlifted to hospital with a broken pelvis.

“People need to think one step ahead of what they are doing, to ensure that they don’t suddenly become a statistic,” Mr Sachs said.

“Ambulance services would be beefed up in the Gympie, Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach areas tonight,” Mr Sachs said yesterday.

“People need to keep really focused on what they are doing, to avoid problems at a time when many activities involve driving, fireworks and celebratory drinking.”

He urged revellers to “be very careful and mindful of the implications of what you are doing, for yourself and others".

“If you find you are in an emergency situation, ring Triple-0.

“If it is not an emergency, the number is 13 12 33.

“But if you are in any doubt about whether it is an emergency or not, err on the safe side and ring Triple-0,” he said.

Mr Robertson warned that it is illegal for members of the public in Queensland to buy, possess or use fireworks, including firecrackers.

“Anyone caught with illegal fireworks will be prosecuted,” he said, adding that penalties are severe – up to $40,000 and/or six months jail.

Mr Sachs, also urged people to take care to avoid injuries from illegal fireworks.

RSPCA Queensland said pet owners need to take special precautions to ensure their pets are safe and secure during New Year’s Eve celebrations.

“Fireworks may be fun for humans, but every year they create havoc amongst the animal population,” spokesperson Michael Beatty said yesterday.

“It’s likely that scores of animals will end up at our shelters or council pounds.

“The sad part is that it’s easily preventable. Despite the warnings many people still don’t seem to understand the devastating effect fireworks can have on some animals. Often they will panic and end up on the road where of course they run the risk of being hit by cars. Sometimes they’re found kilometres from their homes.”

All pet owners are advised to make certain that their pets are in a secure environment tonight.

Gympie Times

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