Some arrests, but a safe NYE for Australia

·3-min read

Australia has brought in the new year in style, with police "generally pleased" with revellers' behaviour.

NSW Police arrested 128 people state-wide, including 10 in Sydney's CBD, while 45 move-on directions were issued.

Assistant Commissioner Peter Thurtell said the multi-unit operation had seen Sydney enter the new year safely.

"It was still disappointing to see some people being reckless and disregarding the rules, with police giving move-on directions and making arrests on multiple occasions," he said.

"I would like to thank those members of the community who made their plans COVID-safe and celebrated the beginning of 2022 responsibly, in what we hope is a better year for everyone."

A man who allegedly bit a police officer at Sydney's Pyrmont Bridge at around 10.30pm will face court on a string of charges including assaulting a police officer in execution of duty.

Police say the man was verbally aggressive when asked to move on by authorities and kicked out while being detained. He allegedly bit the forearm of an officer, who attended Sydney Hospital for treatment.

Police in Western Australia made 79 arrests and laid 268 charges. They issued 154 move-on notices.

In South Australia, police made 57 arrests state-wide, with 41 people reported for traffic offences.

They did nearly 1400 drug and alcohol tests, with 44 positive alcohol tests and 11 drug results.

In Victoria, 48 arrests were made, including 14 for assault, 12 on weapons offences, 11 for drunkenness and two sexual assaults.

Victorian officers did 1000 weapon searches and about 4200 preliminary breath tests, detecting 13 drug or drink drivers.

There was space to spare in ticketed vantage points beside Sydney Harbour to watch the city's internationally renowned New Year's Eve fireworks, with many people opting to stay COVID-safe away from crowds.

While attendance numbers were well down on the million-plus of previous years the displays were not scaled back, with six tonnes of fireworks launched.

Despite the pandemic and sweltering heat through most of the day, tens of thousands still flocked to Melbourne's festivities.

The midnight fireworks over the Bolte Bridge wowed crowds, with cheers and applause from those glad to see the back of 2021.

Temperatures soared to a high of 37.3C at 6pm, had dropped to a still balmy 25.4C for the early fireworks and were at 22.9C by midnight.

Adelaide also sweated in the new year with temperatures in parts of the city reaching 40C in the afternoon, as plans were scaled back due to the virus.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison's new year's message was upbeat despite the tremendous challenges facing the country as COVID-19 rips through the nation.

"That is why, despite the pandemic, despite the floods, the fires, continuing drought in some areas, the cyclones, the lockdowns, even mice plagues, Australia is stronger today than we were a year ago. And we're safer," he said on Friday.

"We have one of the lowest death rates and the highest vaccination rates from COVID anywhere in the world."

He added that having one of the strongest advanced economies in the world to come through COVID also gave confidence for what lies ahead.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese acknowledged that 2021 had been "really tough", with people often isolated for long periods.

"So let's hope 2022 brings health and happiness for all and a much easier time. Have a happy New Year."

Mr Albanese said one of his resolutions was to win the next election and lead a Labor government in creating a stronger, fairer, and more diverse economy and bringing "respect, integrity and responsibility back to politics".

The leaders' messages on the last day of 2021 came as the nation recorded almost 33,000 new COVID-19 cases for the latest 24-hour reporting period.

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