- After a total of five lockdowns, the Melbourne CBD had seen a reduction in city GDP of 53% ($39.8 billion).
- Government support and clear directives throughout this period have been critical in helping businesses survive.
- Melbourne's CBD is forecast to return to being one of the nation's fastest-growing economies.
After a total of five lockdowns, the Melbourne CBD had seen a reduction in city GDP of 53% ($39.8 billion) in 2020. A new economic analysis conducted by Deloitte Access found that the virus had impacted Victoria the hardest of all the states in Australia. In addition, the Deloitte report noted, "The city's high share of professional office-based workers has made Melbourne–CBD more susceptible to longer-lasting economic impacts of COVID-19 through a larger uplift in remote working". This loss of CBD activity then flows to retail and hospitality venues throughout the city and further depresses economic activity.
Simon Ingleson, CEO of RosterElf, an Online Rostering Software provider, has seen the challenges businesses face under lockdowns. "We have a clear view into the internal workings and staffing numbers of businesses across Australia and the world. We've seen rapid changes to future rosters as lockdowns were announced with some businesses cutting back by 50% and others wiping weeks of staff rostering out altogether".
With the Delta strain entering Australia, states are scrambling to stay afloat. When there's a hard lockdown, it affects almost every single industry and sector of the market. Although there are a few stand-out performers, most businesses and states suffer under the restrictions.
When asked about the concerns businesses have during lockdowns, Simon explained, "It's uncertainty; they're rostering staff and planning stock purchases not knowing if tomorrow the situation will change."
Government support and clear directives throughout this period have been critical in helping businesses survive. Clear directions and firm policy have given companies certainty and allowed business owners to forecast the coming conditions better. For example, Simon noted, "Lockdowns occurring in Western Australia and South Australia that were fast and hard had shown less devastation on clients using RosterElf. They went through the lockdowns with higher levels of staff retention and lower levels of business closures."
Businesses in the hospitality and entertainment industries have seen decreases of 50% to 100% of their revenue, and staffing numbers through lockdowns. However, proactive enterprises have shifted to home delivery, take away, and online models to remain viable. Simon noted, "Businesses on RosterElf that adapted during lockdowns were able to bounce back faster, increase staffing numbers earlier, and regain market traction."
Logistics companies, the medical industry, customers with substantial exposure to online retailing, and home improvement businesses have all performed well in a post COVID world. As a result, RosterElf has seen increases in staff numbers on Rosters across these sectors and has also seen significant increases in enquiries from companies looking to manage the rapid growth in staffing numbers.
Despite the economic shocks, the City of Melbourne has been able to act swiftly to accelerate the city's recovery. The analysis found the Melbourne's CBD is forecast to return to being one of the nation's fastest-growing economies in the coming years. Before COVID-19, Melbourne's gross regional product (GRP) was $74 billion. After a drop to $32.9 billion in 2020, the Melbourne CBD is projected to grow 16.9% in 2021 and 32.9% in 2022, returning to a pre-COVID $74 billion in 2024.
While the lockdowns have been hard, Businesses across Melbourne have weathered the storm. Backed by a responsive government and a desire to improve operations during the lockdowns, they are ready for rapid recovery.