By: Yoni Bashan
Every adult in NSW will receive $100 in vouchers to use on dining, entertainment and recreation in a bid to stimulate the hospitality and cultural sectors still suffering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The scheme, costing $500m, will involve four digital vouchers worth $25 each, two of which will be redeemable at restaurants, cafes and other venues where food is served. The remaining vouchers will be for use at art galleries, cinemas, amusement parks and theatres, the Treasurer’s office said.
Known as Out & About, the scheme was designed by Restaurant and Catering Australia, an industry group which submitted proposals on the initiative to governments across the country in August.
It will be limited to Sydney’s CBD before being deployed elsewhere in the new year, officials said.
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the purpose was to stimulate the economy during the difficult post-Christmas shopping period.
The state is currently losing $400m a week due to the ongoing effects of the restrictions, a hefty sum but one that has been revised down from $1.4bn recorded weekly during the height of the pandemic.
“We want to encourage people to shop and spend with businesses multiple times, to get out and about and support their local community safely,” Mr Perrottet said.
The vouchers will be issued digitally through Service NSW and will be single-use, meaning they cannot be combined to increase their value.
“We want to encourage people to open up their wallets and contribute to the stimulus effect,” Perrottet said
The only other stipulations will be to limit the use of the vouchers so they cannot be spent on cigarettes, alcohol, gambling or general retail products.
They will likely be restricted to use on weekdays to prevent overcrowding.
Businesses that want to participate will have to be registered as COVID-safe.