SENSIBLE AND BALANCED ROADMAP TO REOPENING VICTORIA
The Property Council has welcomed the announcement that fully vaccinated workers can return to the office from November 5 and that the construction sector can resume full operation once the state reaches 80% vaccination levels.
Property Council of Australia Victorian Executive Director Danni Hunter said, “The Government’s Roadmap is a sensible, balanced plan for the timely reopening ofVictoria as our vaccination rates increase, and as we tackle the continuing challenges to our health system brought about by the pandemic.
“After 230 days of lockdowns, Melbourne’s CBD has been devastated by the pandemic. Many businesses have closed, office occupancy and vacancies are at record high levels and the city is on life support. This plan balances the health challenge with the social and economic challenge and givesVictorian’s hope.
“The plan to allow vaccinated workers to return to the office from November 5 is a welcomebeacon of hope which will keepCBD business holding on, and within weeks we’ll be able tostart toturn Melbourne from a ghost town into the world’s most liveable city once again.”
Melbourne’s central city economy supports for 500,000 jobs and produces about 7%of Australia’s GDP and 25% of Victoria’s GSP at peak. According to the Property Council’s office occupancy survey for August, Melbourne is currently at seven per cent of its pre-COVID office occupancy levels and at no stage has the city’s office occupancy levels reached even 50 per cent of pre-COVID levels since the pandemic began.
“While workers will still be able to be work from home and must do if they are not fully vaccinated, we hope that many people will returnso we can achieve a strong back bounce back on the road to economic recovery.
“The Government should lead from the front and require vaccinated members of the public serviceto return to the office for a minimum of three days per week and launch a program of proactive communications and incentive campaigns to entice people back to the office and the CBD.
“We need people back in the city as they are the lifeblood of Melbourne and support our iconic retail and hospitality sectors. The hybrid working model is here to stay, there’s also no substitute for collaborating with our colleagues and the social connection that being in an office environment offers.”
Ms Hunter welcomed the announcement that caps on construction worksites would raise to 50% once the stated reaches the 70% vaccination rate, and fully reopen once the state reaches an 80% vaccination rate, with all construction workers required to be vaccinated to enter a building site.
“It’s imperative that everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated rolls up their sleeve. Let’s get the jab done and get Victoria moving again,” she said.
The Property Council is seeking clarification on whether commercial real estate inspections can proceed as announced this week, or if they must instead wait until October as the Roadmap indicates.