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.
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.
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.
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 ACBusinessTeam@act.gov.au.
Information on outdoor dining is available at Access Canberra.