Property Australia

National consensus to reignite economic drivers

Ken Morrison Ken Morrison June 8, 2021

Last week the National Cabinet was briefed on the Property Council’s office occupancy data and resolved to take two welcome steps towards reactivating our CBDs and boosting our quarantine capacity. 

The federal government has announced capital support for the Victorian Government’s planned quarantine facility, which is hopefully a first step in turning Fortress Australia’s narrow drawbridge into a higher capacity entryway. The Property Council has called on this project to be expedited and other jurisdictions to follow this template to help support our long-term growth. 

Our industry has done the heavy lifting to drive Australia’s economic recovery. But to maintain this momentum we need a COVID-safe restoration of Australia’s net overseas migration to drive long-term demand. Another critical ingredient to our future prosperity is the reactivation of our CBDs, the true engine rooms of our economic growth. 

In cities with no community transmission, the Prime Minister’s message to government and private sector employers was clear: it is “time to get back to the office.”  

The Property Council and our members have been working to support this push, while recognising that flexible work arrangements will be a bigger part of the future.

We have taken the initiative by working with governments and CBD stakeholders to entice workers back to their offices and reengage with all the benefits of face-to-face working and our vibrant CBDs. While our Melbourne ‘FOMO Fridays’ campaign has been interrupted by the current lockdown, our Brisbane Fridays in the City initiative is continuing to have an impact. 

In an important step to aid the reactivation effort, the National Cabinet has also referred the current office physical distancing guidance to the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee for review. The Property Council will be making a submission to this process making the case that physical distancing guidance is only required where there is some level of community transmission in a city or region. 

It is encouraging to see cross-jurisdictional and bi-partisan support for innovative solutions to our economic challenges.