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Government floor space take up booms

GOVERNMENT agencies and departments take up more than 430,000 square metres of floor space in the central business district – equivalent to around eleven BankWest towers.

Between 1990 and 1997, government demand for office space jumped by 300,000 square metres – nearly a 200 per cent increase according to the Future Perth Central City Indicators report produced by the City of Perth and the WA Planning Commission.

The report shows that the number of government establishments increased from sixty-eight in 1990 to 258 in 1997.

In 1990, the Government took up 10 per cent of the available office floor space or about 147,000 square metres.

By 1997, Government held 27 per cent of available floor space or about 450,000 square metres of office space in the City of Perth, making them the largest tenant in the city.

The report also shows that the government has picked up the slack left when the private sector tightened their belts.

During the seven year study period, the finance, investment, insurance and real estate sectors reduced their space by 9 per cent.

Mining-related establishments went up 38 per cent and employment in this sector was up more than 50 per cent during the period to 1997.

The computer age was also reflected in the figures which show computer-related establishments up 66 per cent and employees in this sector up 93 per cent.

In terms of manufacturing and storage, there was a reduction in overall floor space of 21,739 square metres or 11 per cent between 1990 and 1997.

The report indicates that the retail sector has undergone a period of restructuring and revitalisation during the period, with the focus now on specialty, tourist and recreational shopping.

In 1991, central Perth had the largest proportion of vacant office space of any city in Australia, the report says.

This was due to a huge increase in foreign capital flowing into Australia following financial deregulation during the mid 1980s which was reflected in the massive office towers constructed in the city.

“By the time these developments became available for rent, the effects of the 1987 stock market was being felt with the first of the retrenchments in finance and insurance.

“In turn, the high vacancy in premium office space initiated a round of competitive discounting which, over the following years, created higher vacancies among poorer quality, older stock,” the report says.

“The scale of office over-build acted to undermine commercial property values and office rents in Perth are still among the most affordable in the nation.”

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