The Property Council has welcomed the Premier’s announcement that restrictions will be lifted from 11.59pm tonight as Victoria reaches 90 per cent double dose vaccination.

The Property Council’s Victorian Executive Director Danni Hunter said: “This is an exciting moment for Victoria made possible by everyone who has been vaccinated to help protect our community and allow us to reopen.

“From tomorrow people can return to the office without being required to wear a mask and we expect this will result in a significant number of workers now coming back to the CBD after several months working from home.

“Getting back to the office will enable people to reconnect and collaborate with their colleagues and will also be a welcome boost for our CBD and our iconic retail and hospitality sectors in the lead-up to Christmas.

“We fully expect the Government to take a strong leadership role and ask public sector workers to return to office as they represent a significant proportion of our CBD workforce and the overwhelming majority of them have been working from home since the pandemic started.

“People are the lifeblood of our city and we know that before the pandemic Melbourne’s central city economy supported 500,000 jobs and produced about seven per cent of Australia’s GDP and 25% of Victoria’s GSP so its revival is critical to Victoria’s economic recovery.  In October the CBD slumped to just four per cent of its pre-COVID office occupancy levels but we expect this to increase over the coming months and help revitalise the city.”

The Property Council has released a plan, Reviving Melbourne, which identifies nine key areas to help revitalise the CBD and can be found here. Proposals contained in Reviving Melbourne include:

  • A $50 million fund for programs to revive Melbourne’s CBD in addition to the $200 million already allocated through the Melbourne City Revitalisation Fund and the Melbourne City Recovery Fund
  • A minimum three day a week return to office for public servants when Victoria reaches 90% double dose vaccination
  • Free public transport for a period of three months once Victoria hits 90 per cent vaccination followed by the reintroduction of off-peak fares for travel across Melbourne and public transport included in the pre-purchase of tickets for major event
  • Boost population growth through increased skilled migration and a full return of international students in 2022
  • Reduce the overall tax burden on new housing and fast track planning approvals for new projects
  • Deliver a CBD Tenant Attraction Strategy to bring new businesses into Melbourne and boost jobs and investment
  • Expand and fast track planning permit approvals for key urban renewal precincts in and around the City of Melbourne

“The Property Council looks forward to working in partnership the State Government and City of Melbourne to reactivate the city and once again make Melbourne the most liveable city in the world,” Ms Hunter said.