Bondi Junction massacre: Scentre Group CEO Elliot Rusanow says shopping centre reopening date unknown

Elisia Seeber
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Elliot Rusanow, chief executive of Scentre Group, parent company of Westfield, said the decision to reopen Bondi Junction would take into consideration the families impacted by the tragic event.
Elliot Rusanow, chief executive of Scentre Group, parent company of Westfield, said the decision to reopen Bondi Junction would take into consideration the families impacted by the tragic event. Credit: Supplied

The exact date Bondi Junction Westfield, the site of a brutal stabbing attack where six innocent people were killed, will reopen remains unknown but it is expected it could be sometime later this week.

Elliot Rusanow, chief executive of Scentre Group, the parent company of Westfield, said the decision would take into consideration the victims’ families impacted by the tragic event.

Six people died and 12 were hospitalised, including a nine-month-old baby, after Queensland man Joel Cauchi went on a stabbing rampage at the busy shopping centre on Saturday afternoon.

Sign up to The Nightly's newsletters.

Get the first look at the digital newspaper, curated daily stories and breaking headlines delivered to your inbox.

Email Us
By continuing you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

Speaking outside the vigil site to media, Rusanow began by saying Scentre Group was “devastated” at the “loss of life and the serious injuries sustained” during the terrifying attack, adding it was also a horrifying experience for all witnesses.

“We have been working with the police with full cooperation and continue to do so in their investigations,” Rusanow said.

He said the site had been handed back by the police and they were now beginning the difficult process of determining the reopening of Westfield Bondi Junction.

“As you can imagine the process of reopening is one which is a challenging one,” Rusanow said. “Westfield Bondi plays a very important role for many many members of the community but we have to recognise that this has been the scene of very tragic circumstances and incidents and we have to respect the loss of life and the victims and the victims’ families.

“We are working with the families to visit the site and pay their respects and that’s part of the consideration of when the centre will open.”

He added that this was expected to take a number of days, but the centre could potentially reopen later this week.

Questions arose about heroic security guard Faraz Tahir who lost his life trying to protect the public.

Rusanow said the Scentre Group would be undertaking a review of what occurred, why it occurred, how it occurred and what lessons could be learnt from a whole range of operational settings, including security.

“I will say that our security team has done a marvellous job in acting swiftly in a way that protects the public and, unfortunately, resulted in the loss of the life of one of our team members,” he told media.

“I have not met the guard personally, but from my understanding, he was a very well-regarded, important member of our team and someone whom we all have a tremendous amount of respect for, for laying down his life for others.”

He defended the efforts of all security guards and law enforcement for their timely efforts to “neutralise the offender” quickly.

NSW Premier Chris Minns has ordered a probe into current restrictions on security guards at major crowded centres, in the wake of the stabbing rampage. Mr Minns said while he did not believe more firearms were needed, he wanted to examine the regulations around security guards’ equipment.

The exact number of security guards working on the day has not yet been revealed, but Rusanow did say a “significant” number were on site at the time, with “around 25 security guards working” at any one time.

“It’s a place people should feel safe and security plays a very important role in that, “ he said. “As I said, we will be undergoing a detailed review of how we can learn from this tragic experience in order to improve for the future.”

People lay flowers at the scene of the mass stabbing at Bondi Junction
Sydney is mourning six people who were stabbed to death in a violent rampage at Bondi Junction. Credit: Dean Lewins/AAP PHOTOS/AAP

Rusanow added that mental health and outreach services were being offered to all members of Scentre Group and the community.

“We will work through the process of helping members of the community and members of our team process what is a devastating and tragic event,” he said.

“This is very raw. It’s very early days, and we are all trying to comprehend what has happened only two days ago.”

He offered his thoughts and condolences to all those involved and impacted.

“I would like to thank first responders, our team members, members of the community and emergency services for all their assistance and continued assistance,” Rusanow said.

“I’d also like to thank many members of the community for their generous words of support at this very difficult time.”

Latest Edition

The front page of The Nightly for 17-05-2024

Latest Edition

Edition Edition 17 May 202417 May 2024

Shadowy South American crime figure at centre of alleged gambling scandal that’s rocked Aussie sport.