Perth’s office occupancy rate is 55 per cent of pre-pandemic levels but remains the highest of the Australian cities.
Perth has recorded its lowest occupancy level since July 2020, at 55 per cent, and is the only Australian city that did not show a bounce back in the number of workers returning to the city in February.
Recent Property Council of Australia data shows Perth’s office occupancy has dropped by 11 percentage points since January but remains the highest of the capitals.
Melbourne’s office occupancy was at 15 per cent in February, up from 4 per cent in November last year and in Sydney, office occupancy rate was 18 per cent in February, up 7 per cent from two months prior.
Property Council of Australia WA Division executive director Sandra Brewer said while every other state recorded a bounce back in the number of office workers returning to the city, Perth’s office occupancy went backwards.
Source: Property Council of Australia.
Ms Brewer described the results as a major blow to the business community, who had been expecting fewer restrictions as WA opened its borders.
"For two years, businesses across the state have managed staff shortages, supply constraints, a total pause on tourism, rolling restrictions, vaccination requirements and mask mandates, under an assurance that compliance would mean a quick transition to living with COVID-19," she said.
"Instead of benefiting from learnings on the east, we are now experiencing a replication of the economic damage we sought to avoid.”
A recent poll conducted by the Property Council WA found at least 61 per cent of workers elected to work from home did so because of mask mandates.
Only 10 per cent of workers were working from home due to fear of COVID-19 transmission.
"To paraphrase Health Minister Amber Jade Sanderson, we have, in all but name, lockdowns in our CBD... it's essentially lockdown by policy," Ms Brewer added.