ChooseCBR discount vouchers available from today — and you can spend them at restaurants, gyms, day spas and retail outlets

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From today, anyone over 18 who wants to spend money in Canberra will get a little help from the Government, with vouchers worth up to $40 a day available for the next 12 days.

The ChooseCBR scheme is designed to boost businesses after a tough year, with daily vouchers available until December 21 — or until a pool of $500,000 in discounts is used up.

But while sectors like hospitality have been hit particularly hard by coronavirus restrictions, the vouchers aren’t limited to food and drink.

Also listed on the program’s registry are hotels, day spas, local retailers, and a host of businesses under a ‘Things to do’ category.

One such business is urban axe-throwing company Axxe Canberra.

Owner Chris Krajacic said 2020 had been “a scary year as a small business”, and bankruptcy was a real fear.

“We also run Riddle Room in Mitchell, which is an escape room. We had to shut down both businesses for nearly three months,” Mr Krajacic said.

“We had to go and speak to our accountant about bankruptcy. It was quite scary there for a little while.”

He hopes that now his businesses are back on track, the vouchers will give them a pre-Christmas boost.

“It will just be cool to give some people access to our services at a bit of a discount,” he said.

“We’re expecting good things.”

How do I get a voucher?

Anybody over 18 who intends to spend money at shops in Canberra during December can sign up for the scheme on the ChooseCBR website.

“When you sign up on the website and then load the website, each day the vouchers will be available to you,” Business Minister Tara Cheyne explained.

“You can then click on the voucher and then show it to the participating business.”

Five vouchers will be available each day, and each of the daily discounts have to be used at a different business.

The only small catch is that, to receive the full $40-a-day benefit, you’ll need to spend at least $160 across five different businesses, due to rules around minimum spending.

Here’s how the minimum spending rules break down:

Voucher value Minimum spend
2x $2.50 $10
1x $5 $20
1x $10 $40
1x $20 $80

There are also some things the vouchers can’t be used to help pay for — namely tobacco, gambling and alcohol.

If you buy drinks with dinner (or lunch, if that’s your thing), vouchers can be used to pay for the non-alcoholic portion of your bill.

Where can I spend them?

Mr Krajacic’s is one of more than 250 businesses the Government says have applied to the ChooseCBR program. When the program launched, the Government estimated 2,000 businesses would be eligible.

“It was really simple, we just went to the site, registered, then filled out a few details and then we got an email saying it was good to go,” Mr Krajacic said.

In order to participate a business needs to:

  • Have a physical shopfront
  • Have been on JobKeeper at some point this year
  • Be in the retail, tourism, accommodation, arts, recreation, personal services or hospitality sector
  • Have less than $10 million turnover per annum

Almost 17,000 Canberrans have signed up to the scheme, and vouchers will be available to them from today.

The 12-day, $500,000 program is a trial for a wider rollout of vouchers next year.

“We want to really kickstart our economy as we go into 2021, drive investment and create more jobs, and ChooseCBR is one of the ways we will do that,” Ms Cheyne said.

Before the ACT election in October, Labor promised a total of $2.5 million for a voucher scheme, and while it has received support from businesses, the Opposition has raised concerns it does not go far enough.

“We support any scheme to help Canberra’s 30,000 small businesses and family enterprises,” Canberra Liberals business spokeswoman Leanne Castley said.

“I am concerned by the scheme’s limited scope and hope the Government provides more support for Canberra’s small businesses.”

By Jordan Hayne (Original ABC Article)

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