The Hunter Business Chamber has encouraged regional businesses to register for the Dine and Discover scheme as the program begins to roll out across the Hunter, with an estimated $50 million worth of vouchers to potentially be issued across the region.
With some Hunter residents having already claimed their vouchers from Service NSW, Chamber CEO Bob Hawes says eligible businesses should waste no time registering for the scheme, which provides every NSW resident aged 18 or over with four $25 vouchers to be redeemed at local businesses on tourism, arts, entertainment and dining experiences.
“When we urged local businesses to register a month ago, there was a spike in registrations from our region, but advice we have received from Service NSW this week suggested the sign-up rate had slowed,” Mr Hawes said.
“As of Tuesday, for instance, only 90 businesses in Lake Macquarie had registered for the scheme – and we know there must be many more eligible businesses than that in the area.”
The rollout of vouchers to consumers has begun in the Hunter, with residents of some areas having already claimed their vouchers online this week.
The Hunter Business Chamber estimates that the scheme will inject around $50 million into the Hunter economy, based on the number of eligible residents across the region.
“Most customers are likely to spend much more than the voucher provides.,” Mr Hawes said.
“The Minister for Customer Service, Victor Dominello, told business owners at a recent webinar hosted by Business NSW that residents were spending, on average, around $42 when using one of their four Dine and Discover vouchers.
“An increase in spending of that magnitude would see the $50 million face value of vouchers in our area converted into a boost of nearly $85 million for our regional economy.”
Mr Hawes said the injection of cash would come at a good time, with visitor economy businesses among the most vulnerable to the imminent end of JobKeeper this month.
“A recent Business NSW survey of NSW tourism businesses shows the NSW visitor economy is set for massive job losses, cuts to hours for existing staff and businesses permanently closing once the direct financial support provided by JobKeeper ends,” Mr Hawes said.
“Up to a third of businesses fear closure, while 42% indicated they are likely to be forced to reduce staff numbers and more than half expecting to have to cut hours for existing staff.
“Residents can spend their vouchers on dine-in meals, sightseeing trips, museum and art gallery visits, live shows, adventure activities and much more.
“It’s money for nothing – for consumers and businesses – so everyone should get involved.”
Eligible businesses and residents can register through the Service NSW Website or App.
Amy De Lore
Policy and Public Affairs Manager
P: 02 9466 5665
M: 0419 218 830