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6.5 million Aussies to score free $100 spending vouchers

Anastasia Santoreneos
·3-min read
A businesswoman with both hands full of Australian one hundred dollar notes. Studio shot on a white background.
6.5 million Aussies to score free $100 spending vouchers. Source: Getty

Aussies over the age of 18 in New South Wales will score a $100 voucher to spend on dining and entertainment, as part of the government’s plan to increase consumer spending in the wake of Covid-19.

Each adult, or around 6.5 million Sydney-siders, will receive four $25 vouchers which they can access through the Service NSW mobile app. Two are for hospitality venues, and two are for entertainment venues, like cinemas, galleries or theatres.

The vouchers cannot be used on retail, alcohol, gambling or cigarettes.

The ‘out and about’ vouchers are expected to be announced on Tuesday as part of the NSW government’s Budget, and will cost the state a whopping $500 million.

"We want to encourage people to open up their wallets and contribute to the stimulus effect," Treasurer Dominic 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."

The vouchers can only be used once, and they can’t be combined. That means if you spend less than the $25 in one go, the outstanding voucher amount will expire.

The government may also look to restrict usage of the vouchers to just weekdays, or even between Mondays and Thursdays in order to ensure venues are remaining Covid-safe.

The stimulus measures are only being rolled out to boost venues in the Sydney CBD, but the government will expand locations in early 2021.

But while Perrottet hopes the vouchers will boost consumer spending, independent economist Stephen Koukoulas said the cash should have been more broad-based.

“In the current recession and slow path to economic recovery, I am all for getting money into the economy to help business and employment,” Koukoulas told Yahoo Finance.

“Vouchers for restaurants is very selective - there are many businesses hit hard in the recession equally worthy of support. Why not just give people cash and they can spend it as they see fit?

“Some people are struggling to pay rent, which sits against their ability to go to a fancy restaurant with a voucher.”

It’s the second Budget policy to be leaked prior to the announcement, with women in NSW also set to receive a $5,000 boost to help them return to work.

The NSW government’s new Return to Work cash boosts will be given to women who have been out of work for at least a month, and plan to start paid work within six months.

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