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MEDIA RELEASE
OMICRON WORK FROM HOME DIRECTIONS WOULD COST JOBS, SAYS PROPERTY COUNCIL


[22 July 2022]

The Property Council of Australia is urging state and territory leaders not to resort to reinstating work from home mandates or requests, stating such a move would have a significant impact on our CBDs.

Property Council Chief Executive Ken Morrison said calls for the nation to return to earlier pandemic settings, such as those from the ACTU, are a step in the wrong direction.

“There is no question that this third Omicron wave is concerning and that managing the impacts on our health systems is an enormous challenge for governments, but we also need to recognise that work from home requirements are not a cost-free measure," Mr Morrison said.

"The costs are largely not borne by office tenants or building owners – they’re borne by the workers and small business owners who help make our CBDs vibrant places. “Many of these people will lose their jobs if CBDs empty again and some of their employer’s businesses simply won’t survive.

"Office occupancy rates in Sydney and Melbourne are just 55 and 49 percent respectively, and other CBDs are also very low.

This is a reminder of how slow the recovery of our CBDs has been and the dangers of not truly accounting for the costs involved.

“Demand for CBD office space from business tenants is actually increasing, but our city centres also need the ecosystem of cafes, restaurants and retailers to provide amenity to city workers.

“We urge governments to recognise these real economic impacts as they balance the difficult task of supporting the community through this phase of the pandemic.

“This is not an issue about flexible working – which will clearly have a much bigger role in many workplaces. This is about supporting the jobs and businesses that help make our CBDs such vibrant parts of our cities,” he said.

ENDS

Media contact: Rhys Prka | 0425 113 273 | [email protected]