National day of boorish behaviour

BEHIND the fierce patriotism and Southern Cross memorabilia is the less appealing side of Australia Day - drunkenness.

And with intoxication comes the consequences, including alcohol-related assaults and over indul-gence.

A report by the Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, based in Victoria, analysed data from the police, ambulance and hospitals and found that Australia Day was the number-one holiday for under-25-year-olds requiring medi- cal attention for drunkenness.

Young people treated for assaults also doubled on Australia Day.

Last year about 10pm on Australia Day, Jacob Kirch and his fiancee Nina DeGraff were bashed and robbed as they made their way home over Missingham Bridge in Ballina.

The attack left then 22-year-old Jacob requiring stitches and with titanium plates in his jaw.

He needed counselling following the attack and was off work for two months.

Jacob's mother, Dianne Kirch, approached The Northern Star yesterday wanting to warn people against violence.

"Jacob was just inno-cently walking along the bridge that night," she said.

Police will be out and about enforcing alcohol-free zones throughout the Northern Rivers tomorrow, Tweed Byron Local Area Command duty officer Inspector Gary Cowan said.

"Police will be out making sure those who want to celebrate can without being harassed," he said.

"Some people see Australia Day as an excuse to engage in anti-social behaviour. Unfor- tunately in the past, the minority has ruined it for the majority.

"Police will be targeting anti-social behaviour and people deliberately flaunting the alcohol-free zones."

Australia Day Alcohol- Free Zones

Ballina Shire

Commemoration and Missingham Parks

Kingsford Smith and Pop Denison Reserve

The reserve adjacent to the entry to the Shaws Bay Caravan Park

The Wardell wharf and platoon

The reserves around Lake Ainsworth, Pacific Parade, Ross Park and Williams Reserve in Lennox Head.

Byron Bay

The CBD

Parks and beachfront reserves

Lismore

CBD and riverbanks

Richmond Valley

Woodburn Riverside Park

Casino CBD

Kyogle

Kyogle CBD

Tweed

Duranbah Beach

Cudgen Creek

Chris Cunningham Park



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