Reg Mombassa

Creative ambassador: Reg Mombassa. Photo: Anthony Johnson

Click here for a map of Sydney New Year's Eve fireworks vantage points

Sydney's New Year's Eve organisers are adding a one-minute fireworks display to the marathon eight-hour event, to bridge the gap between the 9pm and midnight shows and bolster Australia's reputation for staging the best fireworks in the world.

The event's producer, Aneurin Coffey, said the new one-minute display was being introduced to ''keep the interest and build that anticipation'' between the shows.

It will be inspired by artist Reg Mombassa's absurdist self-portrait, Cranium Universe, which depicts the inside of his head filled with stars and planets.

The complete eight-hour show will cost the City of Sydney $6.6 million and the local economy will reap about $156 million.

It will include 11,000 aerial shells and 25,000 shooting comets that will explode from seven barges spread across six kilometres of Sydney Harbour.

For the first time in a decade, fireworks will be launched off four sails of the Sydney Opera House. The three fireworks shows cost a total of about $700,000. Seven tonnes of fireworks were being loaded onto barges at White Bay in Sydney's inner west on Friday.

The centrepiece image on the bridge, which has also been designed by Mombassa and is kept secret until midnight, is 12 storeys high and 72 metres wide. It weighs 60 tonnes and uses 10,000 cable ties.

Sydney Business Chamber executive director Patricia Forsythe said the event would have enormous benefits for the city, not least through the ''free international coverage''.

''Anybody that looks at a news bulletin almost anywhere in the world will get those shots of Sydney and it does remind people of the beauty of the harbour and a little bit of our lifestyle,'' she said.

Images of the midnight fireworks reach more than 1 billion people around the world through online and traditional media. About 1.6 million people are expected to gather around the harbour foreshore.

''Anyone who measures this as a cost and doesn't measure it in terms of its benefits is absolutely missing the point,'' Ms Forsythe said.

A City of Sydney spokeswoman said the cost worked out at less than $5 for every person enjoying the entertainment around the harbour. ''We think it's $6.6 million well spent,'' she said.

Mombassa said he was looking forward to seeing how his work translated to the medium.

''The idea is that humans perceive the world around them and the universe at large in their heads,'' the event's creative ambassador said. ''We are just emptying that head load of stuff onto the Sydney sky.''

The pyrotechnicians have built complicated fireworks in star, moon and sun shapes.

''For anyone who has wondered just what goes on his head, this is it,'' said Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore.