Kathryn Lewis

ACT government trial discount vouchers to boost Canberra business before Christmas | The Canberra Times

news, act-politics, local economy, canberra, free vouchers, choose cbr, canberra discounts, shopping vouchers

Shopping local has become “critical” in a year of crises, according to Canberra business owners who say choosing Canberran can help bring the city through 2020. A trial of discount vouchers is hoped to boost local businesses in the lead up to Christmas, with the program underway in early December. “[This year has] forced people to look inward and I think it’s shown people in some ways the fragility of our economy but also the importance of our buying habits,” Pop Canberra co-owner Gabriel Trew said. “Pre COVID-19, pre bushfires, there was definitely a sense that shopping local was important but I think now people see shopping local as critical.” The duo opened their store stocking solely local products the day Canberra was plunged into lockdown. After a quick online pivot they are slowing seeing crowds pick up in their Braddon business. An ACT government initiative kicking off next month hopes to inject up to $3 million into Canberra’s local business economy to fight-off the COVID-19 downturn. The Choose CBR trial will provide locals and visitors over 18 up to $40 worth of daily discounts at participating stores, if they spend a minimum amount. Canberrans can sign up for the program now and use the vouchers between December 9 and December 21, or until the initial $500,000 worth of discounts is exhausted. Participants can claim vouchers worth $2.50, $5, $10 and $20 for registered businesses across retail, tourism, accommodation, arts and recreation, personal services and hospitality. Mr Trew and Ms Davis hoped the program would be rolled out long-term to support business into the new year. “The awful year that it has been has shone a spotlight on the effect of buying something local and that it’s not just a tagline,” Mr Trew said. “You see a financial impact, an emotional impact, a community impact.” Business Minister Tara Cheyne said the program was designed to get more customers through the doors of local stores as we near the busy Christmas period which is vital to many storeholders. “There is a minimum spend to be able to use the vouchers. ChooseCBR discounts can be used for any transactions at eligible businesses, however they can’t be redeemed for alcohol, tobacco, or gaming products,” Ms Cheyne said. “We’re encouraging Canberrans to get involved, particularly as we get close to the holiday season.” The program was modelled on one created in Darwin, which found every dollar spent by government saw between $4 and $6 revenue hit businesses. Based on that Northern Territory program Ms Cheyne said the short-term trial could bring up to $3 million to the ACT economy. Businesses and individuals can register online at chooseCBR.act.gov.au.

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