New data backs PM’s call to return to the office

New data shows office building occupancy in our major CBDs continues to be well below pre-COVID-19 levels despite very low or no community transmission being reported in most locations.

The data reinforces yesterday’s decision to order most federal public servants back to their offices and the Prime Minister’s call for business and state public services to follow suit.

According to a Property Council of Australia survey of members who own or manage office buildings in CBD locations, occupancy levels have remained static or risen slightly in most capital cities.

Melbourne’s occupancy rate of 10 per cent was the lowest in the country and reflected the impact of stringent Stage 4 restrictions.

Occupancy in the Sydney CBD was at 35 per cent, up from 30 per cent the previous month.

Canberra office occupancy was essentially unchanged at 46 per cent, while Brisbane increased from 45 per cent to 52 per cent, and Perth rose from 55 per cent to 63 per cent.

Adelaide’s occupancy rate increased to 67 per cent, up from 61 per cent. Darwin was steady at 70 per cent, while Hobart grew the most of all capital cities, up to 78 per cent compared to 60 per cent in the previous period.

Property Council of Australia Chief Executive Ken Morrison said our largest CBDs still had a long way to go before returning to pre-COVID levels of activity particularly during the working week.

“Our CBDs are big drivers of productivity and economic activity. Their reactivation is absolutely essential to economic recovery, including supporting all of those businesses which depend on CBD office workers for their viability.

Mr Morrison welcomed the Prime Minister’s call for Commonwealth public servants to return to their offices where it is safe for them to do so.

“You can’t have economic recovery without thriving CBD economies.

“Building owners and managers have worked to ensure their office buildings are COVID-safe and ready for workers to return. It’s time to get Australia moving again.”

Occupancy levels chart - September 2020

Media contact: Matt Francis | M 0467 777 220  | E mfrancis@propertycouncil.com.au