Perth lags national CBD bouceback

According to the Property Council of Australia Office Occupancy Survey, released today, Perth has recorded its lowest office occupancy level since July 2020. While every other state recorded a bounce back in the number of office workers returning to the city, Perth went backwards with occupancy levels at 55 per cent compared to pre-COVID levels.

Property Council WA Executive Director Sandra Brewer said the results were a major blow to the business community, who had been diligent in following government directions on the expectation that WA's re-opening would be free of restrictions.

"For two years, businesses across the state have managed staff shortages, supply constraints, a total pause on tourism, rolling restrictions, vaccination requirements and mask mandates, under an assurance that compliance would mean a quick transition to living with COVID-19," Mrs Brewer said.

"Instead of benefiting from learnings on the east, we are now experiencing a replication of the economic damage we sought to avoid," she said.

Ms Brewer acknowledged and welcomed the state government's encouragement of workers to continue to work from the office. However, the occupancy figures demonstrate that despite strong urgings, people remained deterred by other policy restrictions.

According to a poll conducted by the Property Council WA, over 61 per cent of workers electing to work from home did so because of mask mandates. Only 10 per cent of workers were working from home due to fear of COVID-19 transmission.  

"To paraphrase Health Minister Amber Jade Sanderson, we have, in all but name, lockdowns in our CBD... it's essentially lockdown by policy," Mrs Brewer concluded.