“People ask how the city can recover and how long it will take, but I’m just not sure that it can. The impact of rolling lockdowns was seismic.”
A poll of 1012 Victorians conducted by Freshwater Strategy last week found 62 per cent believe Melbourne’s CBD is worse than it was before COVID-19, while 59 per cent said the state was locked down and restricted too much.
But when asked by reporters on Sunday whether his government would be judged on its pandemic record at the November 26 state election, Premier Daniel Andrews said: “We’re putting a positive and optimistic plan forward – free TAFE, free kinder, build schools, build hospitals, bring back the (State Electricity Commission) to put downward pressure on power bills.”
Melbourne CBD’s office occupancy rate remains the lowest among major local cities, according to the Property Council of Australia, averaging 41 per cent of pre-COVID levels in September.
This compares to 52 per cent in Sydney, 54 per cent in Canberra, 70 per cent in Brisbane, 76 per cent in Perth, and 78 per cent in Adelaide, adding heft to South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas’ comment last month that Melbourne is “still dead”.
City of Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp acknowledges the pain being felt by business owners like Mr White and his partner Brooke Hayman, but firmly believes the city is on the right track.
Foot traffic on both Spring Street and Lonsdale Street, which intersects with Russell Street, is roughly 40 per cent…