30,000 expected at Foreshore forNYE

MAP – what’s on at the Foreshore
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DRUNKS and troublemakers face being arrested or thrown out of New Year’s Eve celebrations along the Newcastle Foreshore and Honeysuckle, as police crack down to ensure a safe and happy start to 2015.

As festivities around the Hunter shift towards a more family-focused affair, organisers are expecting more than 30,000 people to line the banks of the harbour and pack into the new headquarters for New Year’s Eve celebrations in the Honeysuckle precinct for an evening of entertainment and the sole fireworks display at 9pm.

More than 110 police officers will be out in force as part of a high-visibility operation targeting anti-social behaviour, alcohol-related violence and under-age drinking.

Newcastle City Commander Superintendent John Gralton said police wanted families and revellers to enjoy themselves, but warned those who planned on causing trouble or drinking too much should think again.

‘‘Crowds over the last few years have been generally compliant and we hope that everyone has a good time on New Year’s Eve, but the message is if you come in to enjoy the festivities in the city then don’t play up because if you do there will be consequences,’’ Superintendent Gralton said.

‘‘You need to be mindful of your own behaviour, make sure you don’t drink too much and keep your friends in check.

‘‘Generally speaking the Newcastle CBD will be an alcohol-free zone, this helps police maintain a bit of order.

‘‘Police are also urging parents to know where their kids are and not let them roam the streets on New Year’s Eve because there is a real chance they could become an offender or more likely there is the potential for them to become the victim of crime.

‘‘We want parents to know where their kids are, not to supply them with alcohol and when we call because they are at the police station with us then they should come and collect them.’’

Police will also be focusing on Broadmeadow railway station, the closest stop on the Newcastle and Central Coast line to the Newcastle CBD, in a bid to stamp out drunken behaviour before it reaches the city. Superintendent Gralton said police were in favour of a more family-friendly event and an earlier fireworks display.

‘‘It still allows families to come in and have a great New Year’s Eve and experience the fireworks in a carnival style atmosphere.

‘‘We found with the later fireworks, a lot of people had gone home and they attracted a different type of crowd, more prone to anti-social behaviour.’’

Meanwhile, paramedics are gearing up for a 16per cent surge in Triple-0 calls on New Year’s Eve.

Inner Hunter zone manager Superintendent Daniel Ferguson said they were expecting an average of 18 calls an hour between 10pm and midnight.

In response they’ll have an extra crew and ambulance rostered on, along with two additional immediate care units, also known as rapid response vehicles that focus on treating people at the scene.

“We believe that will be sufficient to keep up with demand,” Superintendent Ferguson said.

“Between 4pm and 6am on a typical Saturday, which is usually our busy night, we’ll get about 160 calls.

“Last New Year’s Eve we got about 180 calls, which is a 16 per cent rise.

“This year, because nobody has midnight fireworks, we are anticipating there’s going to be a lot less activity.”

Superintendent Ferguson said this would be his second New Year’s Eve working in the Hunter, having previously been based in Sydney.

“Whereas Sydney is bedlam, I think Newcastle had a really safe feel last year,” he said.

“It really does provide a family friendly event – which is what it should be.”

John Hunter Hospital emergency department director Dr Mark Lee said extra staff would be on hand to deal with the predicted surge in patients.

He said New Year’s Eve could be “unpredictable” – last year was quiet, whereas the year before was one of the busiest ever experienced with 250 cases clocked up.

“A typical day is 200 to 205, so that is a big increase,” Dr Lee explained.

“Probably the single biggest thing on New Year’s Eve is intoxication – where people are sick or unconscious because they have been drinking excessively.

“The next biggest thing is the injuries, for instance alcohol-related assaults where people get a bit aggressive.”

Dr Lee said 18 to 24-year-olds were the most common age group to need help for alcohol-related incidents on New Year’s Eve, with men and women equally represented in the statistics.

“I think sometimes they get a bit excited, drink too quickly and don’t eat,” Dr Lee said.

The secret to staying out of the emergency department is to drink in moderation and act responsibly, said Associate Professor Adrian Dunlop, of Hunter New England’s drug and alcohol clinical services.

“Time your drinks and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks such as tap water, soda water, mineral water and diet soft-drinks,” he said.

“Other tips include drinking slowly from a small glass, avoid getting in a shout, drink one drink at a time, avoiding top-ups so you know exactly how much you have consumed and eat before or during drinking.”

NEWCASTLE

* Family entertainment from 4pm to 9pm

* Fireworks at 9pm

* Best viewing from Honeysuckle or Stockton Foreshore

LAKE MACQUARIE

* Wangi Wangi hosts Lake Macquarie’s only major display

* Fireworks start 9pm, deployed from a barge

* Best vantage point is Wangi Wangi RSL

PORT STEPHENS

* d’Albora MarinasNelson Bay hosts live music and children’s entertainment from noon

* Fireworks display at 9pm

MAITLAND

* Maitland’s Riverside car park hosts family-friendly activities from 5pm

* Children’s disco from 6pm

* Fireworks at 9pm

PATERSON

* Tucker Park will hold a 9pm and midnight fireworks

* Entertainment and food stalls from 6.30pm

* Entry is $15 a family

HUNTER VALLEY

* Fireworks at Hunter Valley Gardens at 9pm

* Fireworks at Harrigan’s Irish Pub at midnight

* Live music and DJs at Harrigan’s from 6.30pm

DENMAN

* Fireworks at the Denman RSL club at 9pm

FORSTER-TUNCURRY

* Entertainment in John Wright Park at Tuncurry from 6.30pm

* Fireworks display at 9pm

PORT MACQUARIE

* Fireworks display at Port Macquarie Marina at 9pm