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Brisbane's 'ghost-town' CBD needs offices to reopen as 'easy' stimulus


An “easy” stimulus for the Queensland economy would be the return of workers to the city, according to the Property Council.

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Workers have started to trickle back into the CBD but thousands remain at home waiting for an all-clear signal from the State Government and health officials.

With no community transmission of the coronavirus in Queensland and only two active cases, business is urging the Government to make a call as soon as possible for a return to the office.

Under current regulations, workers are allowed back to the office but social distancing rules still apply and that has restricted many workers from returning. Public transport has been deemed safe, but the government advises people to maintain the 1.5-metre distance. Retail outlets, restaurants and cafes also have restrictions in place.

“We are certainly keen to see people return to the city,” Property Council Queensland executive director Chris Mountford said.

He said it was “an easy stimulus” to get the workers back because it would boost the trading of retail outlets, restaurants and cafes in the city.

“There’s a strong economic rationale for encouraging people back,” Mountford said.

That was more important with the loss of tourism.

“But there are a few things in play at the moment … most organisations are following the health advice,” he said.

But he said the time for health officials and the Government to give the all-clear must be close.

“When the time is right the Government needs to make the point that it is safe,” he said.

How offices will look in the post-COVID-19 environment is also not known.

Mountford said some workers may feel unsafe unless social distancing was maintained, which may lead to the need for more office space and the end of hot-desking.

It came as the Australian Bureau of Statistics survey showed Australians had already or would soon be sending their kids to school or child care (92 per cent), shopping at physical retail stores (90 per cent), using a hair or beauty service (77 per cent), and attending their workplace in person (77 per cent).

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