SYDNEY, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Deputy Premier of Australia's New South Wales (NSW) State John Barilaro has urged his own coalition party to call off Sydney's iconic New Year's Eve fireworks display as unprecedented bushfires continue to wreak large parts of the country.
With fire bans in place across almost all of the state, regional fireworks celebrations outside of Sydney have been postponed or forced to cancel due to the extremely heightened fire danger.
There are also a growing number of Australians who are concerned that after the deaths of at least nine people and the destruction of over 900 homes and 2,000 structures, going ahead with the exorbitant celebration would be in poor taste.
Taking to social media on Monday while on holiday in London, the NSW National Party leader said the risk is too high and "We must respect our exhausted Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers."
"Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks should just be canceled. Very easy decision," Barilaro said.
"If regional areas have had fireworks banned, then let's not have two classes of citizens. We're all in this crisis together."
Despite the growing criticism, however, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is set to push on with the annual Sydney showcase.
"If the RFS, if the experts, say it's safe to have the fireworks continue, well, we should do that. Sydney is one of the first cities in the world welcoming in the new year," she said.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he supports the NSW Government's decision to go ahead with the celebrations.
"I think it is important to send a message to the world... We will keep doing what we normally do," he said.
Expected to attract more than 1 million people to Sydney Harbor, the event is predicted to generate over 130 million Australian dollars (91 million U.S. dollars) for the local economy.