After a trial that attracted criticism for spending just over half of its allocated budget, not including enough businesses and not being accessible to multicultural communities, the ACT Government has announced a revamped ChooseCBR voucher scheme.*
The $2 million ChooseCBR voucher scheme will cover more businesses, and the rebates will be higher than during the trial.
Shoppers will now have access to $10 off when they spend at least $20; $20 off when they spend at least $40; and $50 off when they spend at least $100 each day from 9 June.
Vouchers during the program’s $500,000 trial ranged between $2.50 and $20.
Business Minister Tara Cheyne said the government had received valuable feedback from last December’s trial about what worked well and what could be done differently.
“As a result, a number of changes have been made to the program to make it easier for businesses and consumers to participate, to increase the range of businesses participating and to help businesses get the most out of the program,” she said.
The business eligibility criteria have also been relaxed. Hospitality, retail, accommodation, personal services or arts businesses in the ACT with an annual turnover under $10 million can sign up to the program.
The requirement for a business to have accessed JobKeeper payments has also been removed.
The Canberra Liberals have welcomed the revamped scheme but Shadow Business Minister Leanne Castley expressed her concerns on how much of the money will go to marketing costs.
She was also worried about how much of the scheme’s promotion would be concentrated in the city and ignore areas like Tuggeranong and Gungahlin.
“Only seven small businesses in Gungahlin signed up for the ChooseCBR trial which shows how bad it was,” Ms Castley said.
“I called on the Minister to go back to the drawing board and am pleased she has overhauled the program because if it does not help small business, it is a waste of money.
“Canberra’s 30,000 small businesses employ one in four Canberrans and need all the help and support they can get.”
A business toolkit, which includes posters, tips, videos and social media assets will be made available to companies who register.
A range of resources to support culturally and linguistically diverse Canberrans and businesses are also available.
Businesses can register for ChooseCBR at choosecbr.act.gov.au.
Eligible businesses have been invited to a ChooseCBR webinar hosted by the Canberra Business Chamber and Canberra Business Enterprise Centre on 26 May at 5:30 pm to learn more about the program and how to attract customers.
*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said the trial spent “less than half of its allocated budget”. According to the ACT Government, the trial spent around 60 per cent of its budget.