ACT News

How well did Canberrans behave on New Year's Eve?

Arson and underage drinking have marred Canberra's largely subdued New Year's Eve festivities. 

Police say one man was arrested after the alleged arson of a four-wheel-drive on London Circuit.

Fireworks go off during the celebration of New Year's Eve at Civic Square in Canberra.
Fireworks go off during the celebration of New Year's Eve at Civic Square in Canberra. Photo: Melissa Adams

No one was injured in the fire across from the QT Hotel, which coincided with the 9pm fireworks, and firefighters were called to extinguish it.

Police spoke to a man at the scene, who was arrested and later changed with the alleged arson of a motor vehicle.

The remnants of a night celebrated well were evident across Canberra as the sun dawned on 2016.

The clean-up operation began early on Friday to scoop up rubbish strewn across Civic left behind by thousands celebrating the start of the New Year on thursday evening.

Two free, all-ages gigs planned for the official celebration in Civic and a 9pm and midnight fireworks show pulled punters into the city's heart, with police heavily patrolling the area, targeting antisocial behaviour and underage drinking.

While police were generally pleased with the behaviour of revellers, Superintendent Ben Cartwright said he was particularly disappointed in the numbers of young people "congregating in [the] city well into the early hours of the morning".

A group of 15 underage drunks were taken into protective custody for public intoxication, possessing or consuming alcohol.

"These young people were held by police until released into the care of a parent or guardian," Superintendent Cartwright said.

Highway patrol officers breath-tested 520 motorists during the evening and in the early hours of the morning with only two returning a positive reading.

One man was sprung behind the wheel with an alleged blood alcohol reading four times the legal limit.

He was taken into custody and will appear before the ACT Magistrates Court at a later stage, Superintendent Cartwright said.

Three people were caught allegedly driving under the influence of drugs out of 10 tests administered.

A 23-year-old P-plater was allegedly clocked driving more than 45 kilometres over the speed limit on the Majura Parkway.

His licence was suspended immediately and he was arrested and taken to the ACT Watch House.

Around Australia, police have mostly praised the behaviour of the large crowds drawn out to ring in the New Year.

In Sydney, otherwise peaceful celebrations were spoiled by an alleged bomb hoax, a series of brawls and a cut to a police officer's face.

And Canberra wasn't the only city around the world to have fire coincide with their fireworks. 

Dubai's massive fireworks display paled in comparison to a fire which engulfed a 63-story hotel near the city's tallest building.