After a string of high-profile assaults in the city over recent weeks, alcohol-fuelled violence has now come to the beach with attacks on Australia Day marring celebrations.
A 24-year-old Irish backpacker was attacked by an unknown man on Campbell Parade, Bondi at about 9pm on Australia Day. He was punched and fell to the ground, hitting his head on the pavement. The attacker fled the scene.
The site is almost directly opposite where 23-year-old Michael McEwen was attacked and king hit on December 14 after he had been drinking with friends in a local Bondi park. One of his alleged attackers, Jamie Ennis, was ejected from the Beach Road Hotel shortly before the assault. At his bail hearing the court heard Mr Ennis was already on bail at the time for a near-identical assault in Bondi in September last year.
Also on Australia Day, two men were charged after the assault of hotel security outside a venue in Bondi Junction. The pair had been asked to leave the premises due to intoxication.
Waverley Council enforces a number of alcohol-free zones across the area during the summer months and Mayor Sally Betts said lockouts have been introduced in most of the larger pubs throughout Waverley.
“Recent reports of alcohol related violence have been shocking and saddening,” Cr Betts said.
“Council runs community education campaigns, like My Bondi Summer, and works closely with the local police regarding liquor licence applications and policies to manage anti-social and violent behaviour.”
Adam Purcell, Chairperson of the Eastern Suburbs Liquor Accord, said they would want to review the results of recent government initiatives in the CBD before supporting expansion across the eastern suburbs.
“To think that this type of violence will disappear with a sweep of the lockout wand is naïve,” he said.
“Licensed premises have a part to play in the reduction of random street attacks but we also need to address drug or steroid use, the drinking culture…and the desensitisation of young people to violence.”
Lenore Kulakauskas, Bondi Beach Precinct representative to Waverley Council’s Liquor Working Group, said the current alcohol-free zones are not particularly effective and need to be better policed by council.