NSW households would be given $100 vouchers to spend at restaurants or cafes under a budget proposal being considered by the NSW Government.
The vouchers, estimated to cost $500 million, would be available to NSW residents over the age of 18 to use at cafes and restaurants and would not be eligible for the purchase of alcohol, according to The Australian.
Households with more than two people would be eligible for the full $100 voucher, while single-person households would get $50.
The scheme, under consideration by NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, is a bid to encourage spending with the local hospitality industry. It will reportedly be the centrepiece of the 2020-21 NSW Budget to be handed down on 17 November.
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Speaking on radio today, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian would not confirm or deny whether the scheme would be implemented.
“We are still putting finishing touches on the budget,” she told 2GB.
“But I want (people) to be assured of one thing...we get how tough it is for a lot of people at the moment.
“We get how tough it is for families at the moment … we get how tough it is for small businesses, so we’re hoping in the budget to make sure that we take care of everybody who has been going through those difficult times.”
The NSW budget will have a “very strong focus on creating jobs, boosting the economy and keeping the community safe from COVID-19”, a NSW Government spokesperson told The Australian.
The hospitality, retail and accommodation industries were among the heaviest-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The state’s Expenditures Review Committee has reportedly signed off on the scheme already, but now awaits cabinet approval.
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The $100 voucher scheme was an idea proposed by the Restaurant and Catering Industry Association of Australia (RCA) in September, and mirrors a similar scheme by Britain called ‘Eat Out to Help Out’.
“The scheme would be available for in-house dining when restrictions levels permit, as well as takeaway options (and pre-packaged meals) and contactless food delivery where the consumer paid the businesses directly,” RCA stated in the submission.
“Its impact cannot be understated — it will save businesses and be utterly transformational during a time of immense stress and pressure,” said RCA CEO Wes Lambert.
The RCA currently has a Change.org petition for the same scheme to be implemented in Victoria.
“We are calling on the Victorian Government to introduce a targeted voucher, available to every household, aimed at encouraging people to spend in their local restaurant, café or catering businesses,” the petition reads.
“Despite contributing more than $37 billion to the economy and employing over 450,000 people nationwide, there has not been any significant targeted support for the hospitality industry through the pandemic to date.”
At the time of publishing, the petition had 550 signatures.
Yahoo Finance has contacted NSW Treasury for comment.
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