Australian Government Office Occupancy Reports

Overview

The 2019 Australian Government Office Occupancy Report (Occupancy Report) includes office accommodation that is leased or owned by Non-Corporate Commonwealth Entities (entities), that has at least 500 square metres (m2) of Usable Office Area as at 30 June 2019.

Data is collected through the Australian Government Property Register (AGPR), which entities (through their Property Service Providers) are required to update annually.

The point-in-time nature of collecting leasing information adds a degree of volatility to annual results. However, the information provides an understanding of the medium and long-term trends, especially given the impact of leasing decisions are evident over many years. Likewise, the length of leases can mean changes in outcomes may take some time to be reflected in the data.

The Occupancy Report, together with other data collected through the AGPR, provides an evidence base to assist entities to identify and progressively implement better property management practices, while also informing decisions in relation to whole-of-government leasing and property policy.

The 2019 Occupancy Report includes cost indicators and private-sector benchmarking for the first time. These new indicators help to provide a more complete picture of Commonwealth property performance and increase transparency around government expenditure on office accommodation.

Key findings

The 2019 Occupancy Report shows that key indicators measuring the Commonwealth’s leased office footprint have remained relatively stable.

The Commonwealth had small increases in the overall number of tenancies and the amount of controlled area in 2019 when compared to 2018. These increases are due to the addition of some new tenancies and some existing tenancies now meeting the threshold for reporting (500 m2 of usable office area).

Key indicators including fit-out density and occupational density have remained relatively stable. The average occupational density in 2019 was 16.1 m2 per occupied work-point (compared to 16.0 m2 in 2018). In 2019, 29.6 per cent of tenancies met the Government’s occupational density target of 14.0 m2 (compared to 31.6 per cent of tenancies in 2018 and 25.0 per cent of entities in 2017).

Net tenancy expenditure increased by 2.9 per cent over the 12 month period, which is less than the 3.4 per cent increase in the amount of controlled area over the same period. The average cost per square metre and average cost per work point decreased from 2018 to 2019.

A data table that displays key property indicators for each entity can be downloaded here.

Table 1: Comparison of property indicators (2017 to 2019)
Measure 2019 2018 2017
Tenancies (n) 568 541 596
Controlled Area (m²) 2,838,345 2,744,222 2,765,630
Usable Office Area (m²) 2,253,361 2,177,308 2,279,729
Work-points (n) 164,632 158,357 158,806
Staff (n)(a) 139,583 136,008 133,117
Vacant Work-points (n) 25,049 22,349 25,689
Work-point Vacancy Rate (%) 15.2% 14.1% 16.2%
Average Fit-out Density (m²)(c) 13.7 13.7 14.4
Average Occupational Density (m²)(c) 16.1 16.0 17.1
Meeting the Occupational Density Target (%) 29.6% 31.6% 25.0%
Net Tenancy Expenditure ($m) $1,336.5 $1,299.3 $1,258.3
Average Cost per m² $471 $473 $455
Average Cost per Staff $9,575 $9,553 $9,452
Average Cost per Work-point $8,118  $8,205  $7,923

(a) Staff includes contractors and is taken on a headcount basis for leases that meet the criteria for inclusion (non-corporate Commonwealth entity tenancies with over 500 m2 of usable office area) in the Occupancy Report. For these reasons, the number of staff will not align with the Australian Public Service Commission’s State of the Service report, which excludes contractors and has no such criteria for inclusion; nor will it align with staffing estimates contained in Budget Paper No.4, which do not include contractors and are reported on an Average Staffing Level basis.

(b) This 2019 edition of the Occupancy Report uses controlled area as the standard measure. Controlled area is the net lettable area of a tenancy, minus any area that is sub-leased to a third party. An explanation for this change is provided at Appendix B of the 2019 Occupancy Report.

Background

The Department of Finance is responsible for co-ordinating the AGPR and reporting results in the Occupancy Report.

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