Call for kindness as Bondi mall reopens after tragedy

Sam McKeith and Samantha Lock |

The Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre will open for the first time since Saturday’s attack.
The Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre will open for the first time since Saturday’s attack.

Sydney shoppers returning to the scene of Saturday’s deadly mall stabbing are being urged to be “kind and gentle” to traumatised workers as trade resumes.

The Westfield  Bondi Junction shopping centre will reopen for retail trade on Friday 24 hours after a day of reflection on Thursday to remember those killed in Saturday’s massacre that claimed the lives of six people and injured 12 others.

Queensland man Joel Cauchi, 40, a long-time sufferer of mental health problems, was shot dead at the scene by police after carrying out the country’s worst mass killing in recent years.

With trade to reopen at the east Sydney mall on Friday morning, NSW Industrial Relations Minister Sophie Cotsis urged shoppers to be considerate of workers still reeling from the tragedy.

“The retail workers are serving hundreds of people – remember to kind and gentle and compassionate,” Ms Cotsis told radio station 2GB.

“I don’t want to hear that these workers are being asked many times to relive their trauma, we’ve got to be sensitive to that.”

Ms Cotsis said a support package including mental health assistance from SafeWork NSW was available to workers from the centre affected by the attack.

Mental health support workers at Bondi Junction
Mental health support workers will be available at the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS)

“There will be workers that are put on shift and they won’t be able to go back to work, and I want to say to those workers there is support for you” she said.

There will be a bolstered police and security presence on Friday as well as counselling services on site, where a floral tribute has grown since the massacre.

On Thursday, hundreds of people gathered to pay their respects to those affected by the attack, adding their condolences and bouquets at the mall.

Premier Chris Minns described the day of reflection as “the first step in healing”.

“It is not back to normal for Sydney, but this is an opportunity to get some kind of grieving and to turn the page on what has been a very difficult period,” Mr Minns said.

The government says it will consider equipment rule changes for security guards at malls after the attack that claimed the life of five women and a security guard at the centre.

A candlelight vigil at nearby Bondi Beach will be held on Sunday evening, with a minute’s silence to honour victims.

Six people injured in the attack remain in hospital, including a nine-month-old baby girl whose mother was killed in the attack.