State Govt to move 1500 public servant jobs from CBD to Fremantle in further hit to retailers

State Govt to move 1500 public servant jobs from CBD to Fremantle in further hit to retailers

PERTH’s CBD – already struggling with low occupancy rates and declining retail – will be hit hard by the State Government’s decision to move 1500 public servants from Perth to Fremantle.

The move, announced last Thursday, will see employees from the departments of Housing, Corrective Services and Transport move out of Perth’s central business district in 2020.

Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said the plan was hatched six years ago, during the mining boom, when the City was facing a more favourable economic climate.

“To relocate 1500 employees to Fremantle when office vacancy rates in Perth are at their highest, and transportation from all parts of the metropolitan area is more frequent into the capital city… does seem counter intuitive,” she said.

“I could understand the decision if this was during the height of the economic mining boom, but to implement it post-boom will prolong the recovery of office vacancies, which currently stand at 22 per cent.”

The Lord Mayor said it would take several years for the office vacancy rate to normalise.

“Decentralising government agencies will impact on the functional efficiency, innovation and growth of the capital city,” she said.

The development is particularly worrying for retailers who fear the usual Christmas period bounce could be weaker than necessary to offset a slow winter.

The Australian Retail Association recently predicted holiday spending this year would experience no significant increase on the same period in 2015.

Declining office occupancy rates in the CBD have made life tough for retailers, facing high rents, low consumer confidence, and fewer potential customers based in the centre of the city.