NSW Executive Director of the Property Council of Australia today said the NSW Treasurer’s second ‘Ideas Summit’ had created a raft of excellent ideas on how to reinvigorate and re-energise the Sydney CBD.
Ms Fitzgerald said Treasurer Dominic Perrottet had brought government, business, industry bodies and other interested parties together to drive the next wave of Sydney’s economic recovery and deliver concrete proposals to encourage people and workers back into the city, especially during office hours.
Property Council data shows in March Sydney CBD office occupancy was at 50 percent still well below the 90 percent pre-pandemic levels, and the second lowest in the nation.
“The Sydney CBD is the economic heart of the nation. About seven percent of the country’s GDP in generated in our CBD so Sydney getting its groove back is integral to the economic health of the nation,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
“With Darwin at 84 percent and Hobart at 80 percent occupancy we clearly need to do more to generate innovative ideas and collaboration between employers, building owners and tenants and government to ensure the offering to return to CBD offices is first class.
The Property Council has proposed a five-point plan CBD activation plan that includes:
- Global-focussed media pitch through imagery for business, tourism and capital attraction showcasing the cities offerings and gatherings, demonstrating that Sydney is open for business and why would you want to or risk doing business anywhere else in the world?
- Social and business lunch culture is promoted, setting the scene for the extended campaign and supporting local restaurants and cafes to promote their wares, with attendees able to leverage their ‘Dine and Discover’ vouchers, and the expansion of the vouchers to focus on Friday spending in the Sydney CBD,
- Providing an enticing event that encourages workers to commute to the city on a Friday through providing a sought after and exciting opportunity,
- Leading by example by enticing the public sector workforce back with a commitment to prioritising Fridays and Mondays.
- Form a CBD activation taskforce consisting of key industry bodies to work together to mobilise business within the CBD to work on a collaborative campaign and invest in CBD activation and workers experience, attracting workers back to the CBD.
“Sydney is in the unique position as Australia’s global city to showcase how well Australia, and in particular NSW, has managed to continue to conduct business throughout the pandemic. We are the envy of the world in the way we can gather, socialise and meet. Why would you want to do business anywhere else?” Ms Fitzgerald said.
“The world is watching not just in awe, but they are taking notes on what life looks like on the other side of the worst of the pandemic. We have the opportunity to set the playbook on what post-pandemic life looks like in a global city, and we need to seize that opportunity to attract workers, tourist and investors into Sydney to rev the engine on Sydney’s economy”.
Research by the Property Council of Australia and EY, released last month, shows that 37 percent of people think some of the best bars and restaurants are in the CBD, 65 percent believe the CBD will be a great place to meet people for memorable experiences, and 63 percent say the CBD is the best place for entertainment and events.
“Now is the time for businesses to bring their workforces together. After much planning stalled in 2020 while we managed the pandemic day-by-day, we should now be coming together to plan how we relaunch Sydney and our operations towards bold and ambitious goals. Resetting business strategic plans, bringing workforces together face-to-face and planning to prosper should be front of mind across the city.