BRISBANE Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has thanked Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Premiers and Chief Ministers for the opportunity to address National Cabinet.
Representing the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors (CCCLM), Cr Schrinner spoke to the nation’s leaders about the pressing need to get people back into major central business districts and using public transport.
“Our capital city CBDs are the beating heart of Australia’s economy, representing 69 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product before the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cr Schrinner said.
“Over the past decade, 77 per cent of Australia’s total population growth had occurred in the capitals.
“If we’re going to get Australia’s economy firing on all cylinders again, we have to get people back into city centres and using public transport.”
Cr Schrinner told National Cabinet that while office occupancy rates had increased from the historic low experienced last year, there was a concerning data emerging across Australia that indicated growth was plateauing.
“The working-from-home phenomena may suit many people but we can’t ignore the fact it has an economic consequence,” Cr Schrinner said.
“Councils have been undertaking a range of initiatives, including waiving rates, fast-tracking maintenance and providing hospitality discounts, to help CBD businesses and to entice people back.
“However, more needs to be done to get Australia’s major cities fully back on their feet.”
Cr Schrinner said some cities were also suffering with increased traffic congestion as commuters continued to choose their cars over public transport.
On behalf of CCCLM members, the Brisbane Lord Mayor urged national leaders to expand the use of travel bubbles, fast-track the return of international students and deliver initiatives that would get people back on public transport and undertaking domestic holidays.
“We can’t afford to ignore the plight of our city centres,” Cr Schrinner said.
“My fellow Lord Mayors and I are keen to work in partnership with the Prime Minister, Premiers and Chief Ministers to ensure our cities return to being the fun and vibrant destinations where people are eager to live, work and play.”