The ACT Government’s 12-day ChooseCBR discount voucher scheme trial launched this morning with just under 17,000 individuals and over 250 local businesses signed up.
The program, designed to incentivise local spending, will be trialled until 21 December with the scheme offering anyone over 18 up to $40 worth of digital discount vouchers per day to be spent at participating Canberra businesses.
Registered individuals will receive two $2.50 vouchers and a $5, $10, and $20 voucher daily; with each requiring a minimum spend to be valid.
They cannot be used for alcohol, tobacco or gambling products; additionally, consumers will need to share the love by spending their five daily vouchers at different businesses.
The ACT Government has allocated $500,000 for the scheme, which will finish up on 21 December or until the funds have been exhausted.
The scheme is open to small businesses with an ACT shopfront operating in the retail, tourism and accommodation, arts and recreation, personal services and hospitality sectors who received JobKeeper this year.
Prior to the ChooseCBR launch, the sentiment among many of the local businesses signed up was positive; they see the program as an effective way to promote shopping locally in the lead up to Christmas.
Owner of The Bank Skatepark in Fyshwick, Aaron Gardner, told Canberra Weekly he thinks the scheme is a “really good, smart idea” to encourage Canberrans to shop locally.
“Previously, people have just bought online because it’s easier; with this people can say we’re going to save money, we’re going to get the item straight away, and we’re supporting local,” he said.
“Once I get the money, I take my kids out to restaurants, I’ll shop local too and it’s going to circulate. It doesn’t just get spent once; it’s spent multiple times within the local economy.”
Melissa Tuckwood of Mel’s Massage said the discounts offered by the voucher scheme might just be what’s required to prompt some customers to seek out a massage.
“For a lot of people there’s just been so much uncertainty this year and we always put ourselves last,” she said.
“If this is the incentive someone needs to tip them over the line for a bit of self-care, I think that’s wonderful.”
The December trial is being run before a wider rollout of vouchers planned for next year, worth $2 million.
Prior to the October ACT election, ACT Labor promised a spend of $2.5 million on a voucher scheme.
“We want to really kickstart our economy as we go into 2021, drive investment and create more jobs, and ChooseCBR is one of the ways we will do that,” Minister for Business Tara Cheyne said.
Eligible businesses and any individuals over 18 still looking to sign up can do so at choosecbr.act.gov.au
By 11.20am on the first day (today, 9 December), $925 in vouchers had been redeemed from the scheme’s total allocation of $500,000. By 2.30pm, over $3,000 worth of vouchers had been redeemed.