Police to use NYE experience to prepare for G20

THERE will be between 2400 and 2700 police on duty across Queensland to monitor New Year's Eve celebrations between 6pm and 6am.

Queensland Police, who will use the event to build further large crowd experience ahead of the G20 conferences in the capital in 2014, are expecting about 80,000 at Southbank and up to 130,000 around the CBD.

Acting Assistant Commissioner Mike Keating said he expected many tens of thousands more on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and other regional cities.

"It's an opportunity for people to spend time with family and friends - to go to places where large crowds gather - and that's a great part of the year," he said.

"It's important we do that safely and we take account of our own safety and the safety of those around us.
"So we'll have a large contingent of police deployed across the state tonight.

"They're there to assist the community to enjoy the night so everybody can have a hassle-free and enjoyable occasion."

Mr Keating said there would be about 600 police in Brisbane, a similar number on the Gold Coast and many hundreds at larger provincial centres across the state.

He urged people to drink responsibly, look after friends and to not get behind the wheel after drinking.

Queensland's road toll was sitting at 272 at lunch time on New Year's Eve which was eight less than the same stage last year and 19 less than the five-year average.

"I've never met anyone who enjoyed waking up in the watchhouse on New Year's Day - it's not a really nice way to start the new year," Mr Keating said.

"You don't want to end up in a hospital waiting room or emergency centre either.

"We can go out and enjoy ourselves we just need to be sensible about that and if we're with friends take care of each other."

Acting Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Mark McArdle is also urging Queenslanders to stop risking their lives playing with fireworks.

Mr McArdle said despite numerous safety warnings, some people were ignoring the danger and still using illegal fireworks.

"Each year we find about 10 Queenslanders suffering injuries that include loss of sight, severe burns and missing fingers due to illegally using fireworks to celebrate the New Year," he said.

"In the past two years, 300 people in Queensland have been prosecuted under the Explosives Act 1999 for firework offences.

Anyone who has fireworks illegally should surrender them to an explosives inspector by calling 1300 739 868 to arrange for them to be collected, with no questions asked.

Anyone caught illegally using or possessing fireworks can and will be prosecuted, with fines of up to $44,000 or six months imprisonment.



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