A debate has been raging over whether Sydney's iconic New Year's Eve fireworks will go ahead this year but now the state's premier has vowed to make the display happen, even if her Government has to pay for it.
Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney Clover Moore has pushed back on the fireworks display, saying it posed too much of a risk to hold the event during the Covid-19 pandemic.
But on Thursday NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian confirmed the fireworks would be going ahead "in one form or another".
Berejiklian told The Daily Telegraph the NSW Government was pushing back against resistance from the City of Sydney and was even willing to pay for the New Year's Eve display if that is what it took.
"This has been a challenging year," Berejiklian told the publication. "We want to offer the people of NSW — and people around the world — a sign of hope."
It is understood crisis talks have been held between the premier, senior ministers and the Sydney mayor to discuss how the event could go ahead safely.
Moore has continually thrown doubt on whether the fireworks display will go ahead, saying she fears it would encourage people to break Covid-19 restrictions.
"I just think it will be too difficult," she said earlier this month. "We could not handle another lockdown in the city of Sydney."
She previously suggested that even if people were told to stay at home, the fireworks would encourage them to turn out to watch the display, heightening the risk of a "superspreader" event.
However, NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet challenged the mayor, arguing while it might be a difficult task the Government "does difficult well".
"This pandemic is difficult and we're beating the virus," he said.
"I want to continue to work with the Lord Mayor. We believe we should have the fireworks not just for the economic benefit, but for the hope that it gives our citizens.
"Our city is open for business. And that's not just a beacon of hope for people in our city, but globally."
Berejiklian told 2GB's Ben Fordham on Thursday that while the fireworks would go ahead, the "vast majority of us will be watching it from home".
She said the Government is working with police, health authorities and transport authorities to figure out how events might still be able to go ahead in a Covid safe way.
Previous suggestions have included having limited ticket availability to popular events to reduce crowd sizes and therefore the risk of another outbreak of coronavirus.
"We are working through all those issues now," Berejiklian said.
"I do want to offer people a glimmer of hope and say there will be something that evening. It won't be what we normally do. The vast majority of us will be at home celebrating with families and friends but we do want to make sure there is some glimmer of hope for the new year," she said.