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Early fireworks and new youth festival funded for 2024 New Year's Eve

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With Mooloolaba placemaking works set to be in progress this year, Sunshine Coast Council has opted to change up new year celebrations at the popular beachside destination.

Using the same budget but targeting two key audiences – families and youths – the $297,558 new year celebration budget will be split over two events in 2024.

Community Portfolio Councillor David Law said community feedback and attendance figures showed a clear preference for 8.30pm fireworks over midnight fireworks.

“We know families love the 8.30pm slot and then pack up and go, while the young people need a safe, entertaining event for the rest of the evening,” Cr Law said.

“With that in mind, the 8.30pm fireworks will continue to be the main drawcard for families at Mooloolaba beachfront, while a new youth event will be introduced to offer entertainment for young people.”

The new low-cost ticketed youth event, designed in partnership with youth, Queensland Policy Service and Red Frogs, will be introduced to offer entertainment for young people, targeted at 13 to 18-year-olds.

While a venue is yet to be confirmed, the proposed 8pm to midnight event will be alcohol- and drug-free and offer chill-out and sensory zones, live music, free transport, security, food and non-alcoholic beverages.

Mooloolaba attracts upwards of 35,000 people annually to ring in the new year.

The changes are part of adjustments to the council’s Festive Season Program, which covers Christmas, New Year’s and Australia Day celebrations in 2024, using a $948,350 budget.

Christmas decorations will continue to brighten up roadways and neighbourhood parks with more than 360 street banners, 65 lit street pole decorations and 25 decorated natural trees across the region at a cost of $529,072 for the region-wide project.

Christmas decorations in Eumundi.

In lieu of producing a council-run Christmas event, more money will go into community-led Christmas events through the Festive and Commemorative Events grant program with a boost of $66,304 to provide more than $121,720 worth of grant funding.

A review in 2021 revealed that 71 per cent of successful funding applications were for Christmas events, compared to 10 per cent for Australia Day and 20 per cent for New Year’s Eve, and that 95 per cent of funding recipients reported increasingly higher event costs.

Cr Law said the same event organisers requested funding for the same community events year-on-year, and that funding was vital for the success of these long-established community run events, as well as allowing new communities to also celebrate.

To support these groups in their planning and sustainability, multi-year funding was initiated to enable consistent support.

Council will continue to deliver the federal government-funded Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony, while also funding community-led Australia Day events through the Festive and Commemorative Events grants program.

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