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Sunday, June 20, 2021

Over 560 businesses registered ahead of ChooseCBR launch

$2 million worth of discount vouchers valid in over 560 Canberra businesses are now available as part of the ACT Government’s reworked ChooseCBR scheme.

From today, Wednesday 9 June, customers who have signed up to the program will be able to access: $10 off when they spend $20 or more; $20 off when they spend $40 or more; and $50 off when they spend $100 or more. This amounts to $80 worth of vouchers made available to registered customers daily.

The ACT Government has been on the charm offensive with Canberra’s small business community over the past three weeks, pounding the pavement to sign up as many businesses as possible.

Eligibility requirements have been expanded to allow any small business with a turnover of under $10 million to be accepted, doing away with the former JobKeeper criterion.

Minister for Business and Better Regulation Tara Cheyne said more businesses coming on board “every day”.

“We’ve done an extraordinary amount of work just getting the word out,” she said.

“We’ve sent several emails, we’ve called businesses, we’ve been in touch with businesses who participated in the trial but haven’t yet signed back up.”

Ms Cheyne said she has observed a “really big uptake” of new businesses signing up over the past three weeks.

“I’ve been out going door-to-door myself with businesses and there have been plenty that told me they didn’t participate in the trial because the value proposition for them was perhaps not worth enough.”

Artists Shed owner Margaret Hadfield said she felt “indignant” about being unable to participate in last year’s trial because the gallery didn’t qualify for JobKeeper but was delighted to be participating this time around.

“I actually scraped through, and I was quite proud of myself,” Ms Hadfield said. “Being an artist I live off the smell of an oily rag.

“It was also just so complicated … and I had sold a few paintings that got me through, and I had very, very kind landlords.

“It’s really nice to come around in the full circle,” she said.

Choosecbr business launch tara cheyne
Minister for Business and Better Regulation Tara Cheyne said she has observed a “really big uptake” of new businesses signing up for ChooseCBR over the past three weeks. File image.

Businesses can still register for the scheme, with roughly 20 businesses a day continuing to register during the December 2020 trial.

After last year’s trial was criticised for a lack of exposure and promotion, this time around participating businesses are being provided with a suite of materials in the form of a toolkit that comes complete with a QR code, posters, stickers, badges, social media content, and more.

Following an underwhelming take-up in last year’s trial that saw a significant portion of the $500,000 available unspent after 15 days, Ms Cheyne anticipates the allocated funds may go “a little bit faster” than they went in the trial.

“By the end of the trial, about $30,000 worth of vouchers were being claimed each day, but this time we do have many more businesses participating.”

After weeks of driving business uptake ahead of the launch, the script has flipped as the government now sets about encouraging customers to sign up to put the vouchers to use.

As at 5pm yesterday, 58,000 customers are registered, 50,000 of whom rolled over from the 2020 trial.

Anyone aged 18 or over, from Canberra or interstate, can sign up to get access to the vouchers via choosecbr.act.gov.au

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