Melbourne CBD evening
The Property Council hopes workers will stay in the CBD for Friday evenings. Image – Canva
  • Fab Friday is set to officially launch on the 23 April
  • Only 24% of workers are back into the CBD
  • Group yoga, discounted food and coffee options along with 4pm finishing times are activities proposed

To lure more people back to Melbourne’s CBD after months of restrictions thanks to the pandemic, the Property Council has called both the government and the broader business community to rally around its Fab Friday initiative.

Fab Friday, set to launch on 23 April,  is designed as a showcase for Melbourne by offering various free events and programs to attract workers back to the CBD– albeit in a COVIDSafe way.

Danni Hunter, the Property Council’s Victorian Executive Director, said she hopes the initiative can reignite excitement amongst CBD workers on a Friday.

“Fridays are about celebrating the week and anticipating the weekend. COVID has changed so many things about our life, but the joy of catching up in person with your colleagues and friends is irreplaceable,”

Fab Fridays will bring together the business community and government. Together, we want to incentivise Melbourne’s workers back into the city on a Friday in a safe and structured way. Where possible, it would be great to see them enjoy a Friday night in the CBD.”

Danni Hunter, Property Council

Ms Hunter added that only 24% of workers are back in the CBD. This has unfortunately resulted in low foot traffic for many hospitality businesses and retailers.

The office occupancy rate was set to increase to 75% last month however due to the Holiday Inn cluster this was paused.

Activities Ms Hunter encourages employers to get on board with include:

  • Group yoga sessions and other early morning activities
  • Free or discounted food and coffee options in the office
  • ‘4pm knockoff pledge’ for city workers to enjoy retail and hospitality options
  • Kickstarting a social media campaign to showcase Fridays in the city

“It’s been so long since we’ve been able to get together properly, we know that people might need an incentive or two as extra motivation. We’d like to see free public transport as just one way that will encourage Melburnians into the CBD on Friday night, with the extra incentive of knowing you’ll get home safely after a wonderful dinner and show.”

Danni Hunter, Property Council

Ms Hunter added that modelling from the Property Council shows that without a significant increase in office occupancy, $2.5 billion of economic activity could be lost, including tens of thousands of jobs in the retail and hospitality industries.

The Property Council has, in particular, called on the Victorian Government to commit to the initiative, highlighting the CBD supports over 48,000 public sector jobs.

“We’re hoping that the different levels of government will come to the table with their own incentives and initiatives to support Fab Fridays,” concluded Ms Hunter.

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