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Focus now needs to shift to economic recovery

The Property Council has welcomed the acceleration of the state’s roadmap out of lockdown and says the Victorian Government must now turn its focus to Victoria’s economic recovery and reviving Melbourne’s CBD.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced that Melbourne’s lockdown will end at 11.59pm this Thursday as the state reaches the 70 per cent double dose vaccination rate.

Property Council of Australia Victorian Executive Director Danni Hunter said, “The Government’s changes to the roadmap are common sense and a reward for all the sacrifices made by Victorians over the last 18 months. It allows Victoria to reopen more quickly as our vaccination rates increase and as we tackle the continuing challenges to our health system brought about by the pandemic.

“We now want to see the State Government shift its focus to revitalising our central city economy and partner with business and the City of Melbourne to start to turn Melbourne from a ghost town into the world’s most liveable city once again.

“After the world’s longest lockdown, Melbourne’s CBD has been devastated by the pandemic. Many businesses have closed, office occupancy is at record low levels, vacancies are at a record high and the city has been on life support.

“We still need a detailed plan to allow workers to return to office, with people in metropolitan Melbourne required to work from home if they can at 70 per cent double dose vaccination. And at 80 per cent they can still remain working at home.

“The Government should lead from the front and require fully vaccinated members of the public service to return to the office for a minimum of three days per week as soon as it is safe to do and the mask wearing rules are lifted and launch a program of proactive 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 business sector. The hybrid working model is here to stay but there’s also no substitute for collaborating with our colleagues, sharing knowledge and ideas and the social connection that being in an office environment offers.”

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 September Melbourne is currently at just six per cent of its pre-COVID office occupancy levels and at no stage has the city’s office occupancy levels reached 50 per cent of pre-COVID levels since the pandemic began.

Ms Hunter said: “It’s critical that everyone who is eligible to be vaccinated continues to roll up their sleeves. Let’s get the jab done and get Victoria moving again.”

Media contact: Eric Allilomou M: 0448 291 236 E: [email protected]