The property Councils latest occupancy survey has highlighted the impact of extended lockdowns on Australia’s largest CBDs. As authorities try to battle the Delta variant outbreak in some CBDs, others are showing positive signs of recovery.
The monthly survey found the August office occupancy level in Sydney was only 4% of pre-COVID levels as NSW endures its toughest lockdown to date. Melbourne followed trend recording 7% of pre-COVID occupancy. Whilst the biggest decline in occupancy was recorded in the nations capital with Canberra’s occupancy declining from 73% to just 8% of pre-COVID levels.
Despite this the CBDs that are not in lockdown are showing strong signs of recovery and a step in the right direction as Brisbane and Adelaide CBDs achieved 60% and 65% of pre-COVID occupancy respectively. Whilst Hobart and Darwin are standing tall recording occupancy of 94% and 82% respectively.
Property Council Chief Executive, Ken Morrison, said that the numbers highlight the challenge ahead for policymakers to restore Australia’s economic engine rooms.
“Our CBDs support millions of jobs and generate hundreds of billions of dollars in economic activity,” Mr Morrison said.
“We know that lockdowns are having a big impact on our CBDs, but it is encouraging to see that once lockdowns are lifted workers are returning at faster rates than we recorded in 2020.”
“Once we’ve overcome the immediate threats to public health, it is critical that building owners and employers work together with all levels of government to get our CBDs firing on all cylinders once again,” Mr Morrison said.