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A New South Wales government voucher scheme designed to encourage people to eat out and attend entertainment venues hit hard by the pandemic has been extended for another month due to low uptake.
Since being launched in March, 4.23 million people, or two in every three adults, have downloaded the Dine and Discover vouchers from the Service NSW app. However, only 44% of vouchers have been redeemed in the last three months.
Each adult resident in NSW is entitled to two dine vouchers and two discover vouchers, each worth $25.
So far $185m in vouchers has been spent, with a combined total of more than $357m when adding in the additional spend from people’s own pockets, which averages $41.21.
The NSW treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, said the extension until 31 July would allow families to utilise the vouchers during the school holidays.
Use of the vouchers has been highest in the Sydney, Blacktown and Central Coast areas and lowest in regional areas.
“This is helping to fire-up our economy. It’s not just boosting revenue for businesses, it’s bringing a fresh clientele through their doors eager to try a new eatery or exciting activity,” Perrottet said.
However, data obtained by news.com.au shows that multinational chains and companies, such as KFC and Hoyts Cinemas, rather than small businesses, were the top choices for users of the scheme, despite 14,000 businesses participating in the scheme.
Five million redemptions have been made at food and beverage services, 1.2m at movie theatres and 370,000 at heritage activities such as museums and art galleries.
The NSW Labor opposition said the scheme should be extended indefinitely until all the vouchers were used.
“I’m glad they’ve extended the program as it gives the government more time to make up for delays of their own making,” said shadow minister for finance Daniel Mookhey.
“Dine and Discover should stay open until every last dollar is spent. That money will do more good in the tills of a small business than sitting in Treasury’s bank accounts.”
The minister for digital and customer service, Victor Dominello, said “targeted stimulus is smart stimulus when helping communities and citizens battle back from a pandemic and Dine & Discover has been able to support a wide range of businesses and industries.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: NSW Dine and Discover vouchers scheme extended after less than 44% redeemed | New South Wales