Bringing people back to work in the CBDs of our major cities will be a vital part of Australia’s economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19.

“Our major CBDs make a significant contribution to Australia’s economic output and must be reactivated to support jobs, investment and productivity,” said Ken Morrison, Chief Executive of the Property Council of Australia.

The Property Council has been surveying its members who own and manage office buildings to measure occupancy levels compared to the pre-COVID period.

The survey found office occupancy levels were as low as 7 per cent in the Melbourne CBD in the last week of August, compared to Sydney at 30 per cent; Brisbane 45 per cent; Canberra 48 per cent; Perth 55 per cent; Hobart 60 per cent; Adelaide 61 per cent; and, Darwin 72 per cent.

“Our CBD offices are drivers of productivity, innovation and collaboration,” Mr Morrison said.

“While Australians have shown great flexibility in working from home during the pandemic, our building owners and managers have invested a lot of time and effort in creating COVID-safe workplaces to enable people return to the office.

“We shouldn’t underestimate the contribution that office-based work will make to our economic recovery, as well as the importance of revitalising the broader CBD economy and supporting all of those businesses which depend on people going to and from their offices every day.”

“The Sydney and Melbourne CBDs each contribute around 7 per cent of national GDP and collectively support one million jobs.

“Clearly, each city will have its own circumstances, but where it’s safe for people to return to the office, they should be encouraged to do so and governments should be absolutely focused on reactivating our CBDs as a vital piece in their economic recovery plans,” Mr Morrison said.