The Farrell family from Brisbane, Hunter,11, Bailey, 11, Kaitlyn, 4, and Dad Trent, with one-year-old Saxon, and the Dingley Family from Macau in China (front) Mum Kirrily, Lachlan, 3 and Dad Stephen Dingley were disappointed to find there were no Alstonville fireworks.
The Farrell family from Brisbane, Hunter,11, Bailey, 11, Kaitlyn, 4, and Dad Trent, with one-year-old Saxon, and the Dingley Family from Macau in China (front) Mum Kirrily, Lachlan, 3 and Dad Stephen Dingley were disappointed to find there were no Alstonville fireworks. Doug Eaton

Families left out of revelry

GIVEN the lack of public family events on New Year's Eve, one could be forgiven for thinking it was reserved for the single and childless only.

Especially in Ballina and Lismore, there was little fun for families except in their own homes.

Alstonville's popular family-friendly alcohol-free fireworks event run by Alstonville APEX was cancelled back in April after Ballina council cut the event's funding by almost a third.

Unfortunately the cancellation in April was not well-publicised and at least 50 families turned up to the desolate showgrounds.

Dad of four Trent Farrell from Brisbane came with his flock hoping for an event to remember.

"We were all decked out ready to go, looking forward to rides, fairy floss, and candy. We turned up at the gate and there was no one there - it was a real disappointment," Mr Farrell said.

Costs for the event had gone from $18,000 in 2005 to an estimated $30,000 this year, but council had reduced its funding from $14,000 to $10,000. Organiser Liz Bugden said the cut forced the organisers to cancel the night.

Asked what it would take to put the event on next year, Mrs Bugden said: "At least $15,000 from council and manpower from other community organisations.

"Our club can no longer do it anymore. We're a club of six members with seven children under the age of five - we need another community group to help us."

Lismore City Mayor Jenny Dowell said it could be argued that fireworks on New Year's Eve "were a luxury", and council already spent its festive season budget on Carols by Candlelight.

"It's not necessary for every council area to put on fireworks on New Year's Eve," Cr Dowell said.

"Lots of people would argue that the money could be better spent on other things."

Asked whether the success of the Alstonville event might prompt Lismore to put some money behind it, she said it wasn't likely.

"Typically we don't ask other councils to chip in for something that our council hosts, regardless of people that come from outside," she said.



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