The New South Wales government has launched a new 'Out and About' scheme to get consumers spending.
The government will give every adult in the state four $25 vouchers to spend separately in the hospitality and entertainment sector in an effort to kick start recovery in these industries, which have been worst affected by COVID lockdowns.
Two of the vouchers can be used at restaurants, cafes, and clubs, and the remaining two can be used at cultural centres, performing arts, cinemas, and amusement parks.
Anyone over the age of 18 will receive the vouchers through the Service NSW mobile app, with a trial to run in the Sydney CBD in December before a full rollout in early 2021.
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The vouchers cannot be combined and each only used once, meaning if you don't use the full $25 balance in one transaction, the remaining balance will expire.
They cannot be used on alcohol, gambling, tobacco, or retail, and can only be used at COVID-safe businesses that sign on to the scheme.
In an effort to limit the number of patrons in venues, the government will attempt to limit the use of the vouchers to less busy days outside of the Friday to Sunday rush.
The scheme is similar to a UK government initiative, 'Eat Out to Help Out', which gave diners a 50% discount if they dined out on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August.
NSW Treasurer Dom Perrottet said the scheme was designed to assist those industries struggling most, and urged consumers to help out where possible.
"We want to encourage people to open up their wallets and contribute to the stimulus effect," Mr Perrottet told the ABC.
"The dining and entertainment industries were among the hardest hit by the pandemic and I would encourage people to utilise this scheme once it is up and running and to make sure they spend a bit extra on the way through, too."
Mr Perrottet will announce the $500 million scheme when he hands down his budget on Tuesday to parliament.
It's expected to come with the largest deficit NSW has ever seen, taking five years before the budget returns to surplus.
Among the measures to be announced by the Treasurer will be a payroll tax threshold increase from $1 million to $1.2 million, and fast-tracked funding for infrastructure and maintenance projects.
"Our strong budget position has allowed us to weather the most severe economic storm in a generation, and we will continue to lead the way in job creation and supporting business through the 2020-21 Budget,” Mr Perrottet said.
The NSW Treasury has forecast the state’s unemployment rate will drop from a peak of 7.5% in the December quarter 2020 to around 5% in June 2024.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the government was determined to help as many people return to the workforce as possible.
“While we all wait for the COVID-19 vaccine to arrive, the NSW Government is determined to treat the economic symptoms of the pandemic by saving and creating as many jobs as possible,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Our targeted stimulus measures are aimed at returning the economy to a positive footing after the challenges of COVID-19.”
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