NSW trial of $100 vouchers begins

Some 45 businesses across Broken Hill and The Rocks have already registered to accept the Service NSW “dine and discover” vouchers that are being trialled ahead of a statewide rollout next month.

The program will eventually offer four vouchers, worth a total of $100, to every adult in NSW to spend on dining and entertainment, which includes cinemas, theme parks, museums and most recreational activities.

It aims to give the hospitality industry a major leg-up in the aftermath of COVID-19.

About 500 people from The Rocks and Broken Hill are expected to participate after they were sent an expression of interest via Service NSW. Those who accepted will receive emails from Service NSW on how to participate.

Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said trial participants should not wait to give their postcodes a much-needed boost. He also encouraged more businesses in those areas to sign up.

“Don’t wait for the rush; get onto it right now,” Mr Dominello said.

The trial will then be extended into the hard-hit northern beaches and broader CBD in Sydney, as well as the Bega Valley on the state’s south, from February 22. A progressive rollout will then occur for everyone in NSW from early March.

Eligible adults will not be able to spend the money on booze, but coffee, food and snacks will be on the menu.

As for entertainment, the expanded list of businesses that will accept the vouchers include cinemas, museums, zoos, go-kart tracks, bowling alleys, travel agencies and sightseeing buses.

The roughly four million NSW residents who already have the Service NSW smartphone application installed will automatically be issued their vouchers when it’s their turn.

Mr Dominello said the vouchers being offered automatically to Service NSW app users was “literally world-leading technology”.

NSW trial of $100 vouchers begins

“Australia is leading the way; you can see in the app what businesses have signed up to it and you can go there and use your vouchers,” he said.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said business in the The Rocks precinct had been decimated by the pandemic given the harbourside area was normally teaming with international tourists.

“Many businesses in the state have gone through a tough time, particularly in the food and beverage industries,” he said. “It’s been a difficult time for cafe owners in The Rocks; these are the areas that rely on international tourism and domestic tourism.

“This is an opportunity for people to get out and about and enjoy everything NSW has to offer.”

Chris Kriketos, from the Bakers Oven Cafe in The Rocks, welcomed the stimulus vouchers.

“The Rocks is arguably one of the worst-hit precincts because of the pandemic; we hope it helps fill that hole and dark void,” he said. “We forecast a long and strenuous recovery and we hope government recognises that.

“There’s no silver bullet with (the COVID-19 economic recovery) … but the vouchers are going to help. We hope we’ll get to the other side and come out stronger.”

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