Choose CBR vouchers fly off the shelf and onto the counter

Dominic Giannini 15 December 2020 4

More than 21,000 businesses have signed up to be a part of the Choose CBR program. Photo: Supplied.

Canberrans have spent big over the weekend following the launch of the Choose CBR vouchers last week, with more than $65,000 claimed in the first five days of the scheme.

Under the $500,000 initiative which went live on Wednesday (9 December), Canberrans can get discounts of up to $40 a day at local businesses across the city. More than 21,000 people were signed up to the scheme when it launched.

The scheme is set to last until 21 December, or when the funds run out, so Canberrans should get in quick ahead of the Christmas shopping rush.

“Businesses across Canberra have had a tough year. We want to really kickstart our economy as we go into 2021, drive investment and create more jobs, and Choose CBR is one of the ways we will do that,” Minister for Business and Better Regulation Tara Cheyne said.

“Businesses are really excited about the program and the potential it gives them to attract new customers and boost sales.”

Businesses who sign up can expect a return of between $4 to $6 for every $1 of the voucher program spent at their store, Ms Cheyne said.

READ ALSO: “We don’t want to be the fun police,” says CPO ahead of Christmas

Owner of The Markets Wanniassa, Fiona Lester, said the program was a great boost for her business ahead of Christmas.

“We are a family-owned business and love what we do, so it was really hard to have to close for six weeks earlier this year due to COVID,” she said.

“Now things are gradually getting back to normal, it’s great to see our customers returning and our suppliers and makers getting back on their feet too.

“We really want to encourage people to sign up to the program, and hope we will see some new customers come through the door.”

The $500,000 is being used to trial the scheme before a bigger rollout of $2 million early next year.

Tara Cheyne

Business Minister Tara Cheyne is encouraging Canberrans to shop local this Christmas. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Ms Cheyne is also encouraging Canberra cafes, restaurants and bars to test the viability of outdoor dining over summer as the ACT Government isn’t charging permit fees.

READ ALSO: Is your business idea pitch ready?

A free 12-month trial for outdoor dining commenced on 1 February 2020 in response to the bushfire smoke that kneecapped Canberra businesses last summer, while all existing outdoor dining permit fees for 2020-21 were waived under the Government’s COVID-19 recovery measures.

Most businesses rely on the heavy traffic and cash flow from Christmas and summer to sustain them through winter and the rest of the year, Canberra Business Chamber CEO Graham Catt said.

More information about signing up for the program or vouchers can be found at Choose CBR.

Businesses interested in learning more about expanding or trialling outdoor dining areas can contact the Access Canberra Business Liaison team on 6205 4400 or by email at

Information on outdoor dining is available at Access Canberra.

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4 Responses to Choose CBR vouchers fly off the shelf and onto the counter
Samantha Morgan Samantha Morgan 3:03 pm 14 Dec 20

Poor market stall holders still can’t trade and also shut of of this too!

James Daniels James Daniels 11:27 am 14 Dec 20

The government has failed to get the word out to businesses and get them signed up. Around 9000 ACT businesses received JobKeeper but only 265 were signed up for this scheme last I checked. The rate of $65,000 spent over 5 days has us on track to spend only 34% of the allocated funds. If the funds aren't spent, will the government use that as justification to cancel any further business support plans despite the fact the ACT provided the lowest level of covid support in the country? When shopping at local businesses, please ask them if they're signed up and if they don't know about it encourage them to investigate.

    Shane Jasprizza Shane Jasprizza 2:23 pm 14 Dec 20

    My business wasn’t eligible (no physical shopfront).

    James Daniels James Daniels 3:21 pm 14 Dec 20

    Shane Jasprizza then that's one problem with the way they structured it. I know there were businesses that were eligible for JobKeeper but never registered because they couldn't work out how to do it or they were too proud, but they've been excluded from this scheme as well because they never actually received the payments.

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