Booze warning as crowds gather for Aussie New Year

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The Independent Online

Australian officials urged revellers to keep a lid on their drinking as thousands of people gathered for New Year's Eve celebrations on Thursday.

As tourists and young people began packing Sydney Harbour front for the traditional fireworks display, state officials warned party-goers that police would be out in force.

"Whether you're drink-driving, riding a push bike while you're drunk, behaving like an idiot on one of our buses or trains, or underage drinking, police will be there to make sure they catch you," police minister Michael Daley said.

"If you're one of these fools that can't handle their grog (alcohol) and likes to go out and ruin other people's nights, make yourself a new year's resolution to grow up and behave yourself and start practising that on New Year's Eve."

Youth Minister Kate Ellis warned that too much alcohol could turn the occasion into a "nightmare" for young people.

"I don't want to see a night out turn into a nightmare for young people and their families - it's no way to start the new year," she said.

"If you're over 18, enjoy a drink, but don't ruin the party for everyone with drunken violence and reckless decisions."

Melbourne police also said they would be out in force at the city's Sensation dance party to search for illegal drugs.

"We are not out to dampen celebrations. Our primary aim is to ensure that those attending have a safe and enjoyable night," said Inspector Stephen Beith.

The warnings follow growing concern over binge-drinking and drug use which prompted a two-day police blitz this month, netting 2,000 arrests across the country.

Some 1.5 million people are expected to crowd the Sydney Harbour area for the fireworks display, which effectively kicks off global New Year celebrations.

According to a survey of 1,615 people by, an adult dating site, three-quarters of revellers are hoping to "hook up" during end-of-year celebrations.