brisbane mask
Mask mandates have not helped workers return to the CBD. Image – Canva.
  • In August, office occupancy fell to 60% of pre-Covid levels
  • Follows the rate hovering around the 70% for almost a year
  • Property Council calls for leaders to collaborate together to encourage return to the CBD

In their latest monthly survey of office landlords, Brisbane’s CBD office occupancy rate dropped to 60% of pre-Covid levels in August.

This follows the rate hovering around the 70% mark for almost a year.

Jen Williams, Queensland Executive Director of the Property Council of Australia (PCA), said that in July 2020, CBD occupancy in Brisbane was at just 48% of pre-Covid levels.

“While Brisbane’s occupancy rates had risen from this early low and become quite consistent month-on-month, August’s results have seen the city drop to a level of occupancy not seen since September 2020,” Ms Williams said.

“Queensland has so far been spared from the extended lockdowns being experienced in other states, however, it is clear the most recent 8-day lockdown and lingering health directives have had a big impact on confidence.”

Jen Williams, Property Council Qld

The risk of snap lockdowns, along with the current mask mandate, border closures and confusion around vaccination targets has increased the number of employees working from home, according to Ms Williams.

Along with impacting workplaces and team cultures, retail, social and cultural institutions that rely on the steady flow of foot traffic is severely affected by those working from home.

“Given the messaging we have heard from Government this week, it is evident that until we can get our state’s vaccination rates to a higher level, the current uncertainty and suppressed CBD activity levels will remain,” she added.

“Earlier this year- in partnership with a range of public and private stakeholders- the Property Council ran its Fridays in the City campaign to draw attention to the importance of the CBD.

“What we heard loud and clear during the campaign was the role of leadership in shifting worker habits and creating a physical environment that people actively choose to be part of.”

Ms Williams said it is imperative that all CBD stakeholders eork together to boost vaccination rates so Queensland can open in a safe and swift manner with not just the rest of the country, but globally too.

“Over the coming weeks, the Property Council will once again be engaging with our city’s leaders to examine new and innovative ways to both lift vaccination take-up and attract activity back to our CBD.”

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