Aust workers returning to city offices

Callum Godde
·2-min read

Australians are returning to CBD offices in droves across every major state capital except Melbourne, a new survey reveals.

As the threat of COVID-19 eases, the Property Council of Australia published data on Thursday showing there was a jump in city office occupancy levels last month.

The most significant increases from September to October came in Canberra (up 17 per cent), Perth (14) and Brisbane (nine).

Adelaide (up six per cent), Sydney (five), Darwin (three) and Hobart (three) also had single-digit lifts.

Property Council chief executive Ken Morrison said the survey showed momentum was swinging behind a return to CBD offices.

"The shift is on and more CBD workers are coming back to their offices, which is an important step in Australia's economic recovery," he said in a statement.

"Leadership from the prime minister and some state governments in encouraging their public servants to return to their offices has clearly played an important role, along with more businesses rebooting their CBD workplaces."

The Victorian government's lockdown directive that Melburnians must work from home if able left nine out of 10 central city offices empty.

Workplace occupancy figures for the COVID-hit city actually fell marginally from eight to seven per cent from September to October.

On Saturday, Victorian Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton flagged a "gradual" return to the workplace for Melburnians if coronavirus case numbers remain low.

Mr Morrison said there was "clearly" scope for more city workers to return in every city.

"It will be vital for the Victorian government to allow workers to return to the Melbourne CBD as an early element of its easing of restrictions," he said.

Public transport and workplace safety concerns replaced public health restrictions as the most influential reason affecting CBD office occupancy levels, according to the survey.

AUSTRALIAN CBD OFFICE OCCUPANCY RATES FROM SEPTEMBER TO OCTOBER

Adelaide - 67 per cent, to 73 per cent (up six)

Brisbane - 52 per cent, to 61 per cent (up nine)

Canberra - 46 per cent, to 63 per cent (up 17)

Darwin - 70 per cent, to 73 per cent (up three)

Hobart - 78 per cent, to 79 per cent (up one)

Melbourne - eight per cent, to seven per cent (down one)

Perth - 63 per cent, to 77 per cent (up 14)

Sydney - 35 per cent, to 40 per cent (up five)