Thursday, September 21, 2023

Voucher scheme boosts economy

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East St Narrandera
East Street, Narrandera. Photo: Kim Woods.

Almost 140 hospitality, clubs, pubs and entertainment centres in the Murrumbidgee region have registered for the NSW Government’s Dine and Discover NSW vouchers, designed to kick start a post-COVID economy.

The value of the consumer spend totals $124,098 in the Narrandera, Coolamon, Lockhart, Murrumbidgee and Leeton Shires up until May 11.

In Narrandera, 986 vouchers have been redeemed worth $24,402 and generating a consumer spend of $26,054 while in Leeton 2019 redeemed vouchers have been spent worth $50,355 with a consumer spend of $53,728.

Murrumbidgee shire has also benefitted with a consumer spend of $30,626 while Coolamon is on $12,774 and Lockhart $916.

The $25 vouchers can only be used once at participating businesses and are not designed for retail, tobacco, alcohol and gambling.

All people over the age of 18 are eligible for the vouchers totalling $100 per person and they can be either downloaded from the Service NSW website or collected in person from the Service NSW centres.

Dine NSW vouchers can be spent at dining businesses any day of the week on food and non-alcoholic beverages when dining-in only and is not for takeaway or food delivery services.

 Discover NSW vouchers can be spent on activities with arts and tourism businesses up until June 30.

A total of 136 small businesses at Narrandera, Barellan, Morundah, Coleambally, Darlington Point, Hillston, Jerilderie, Ardlethan, Ariah Park, West Wyalong, Junee, Coolamon, Ganmain, Lockhart, Leeton, Whitton, Griffith, Wagga and Hay have registered to receive the vouchers.

The tourism destinations include the Whitton Malt House, Altina Wildlife Park, Griffith Aquatic and Leisure Centre, Griffith Pioneer Park Museum, Bella Vista Riverina Tours and Star Bowling Griffith.

Narrandera businesses accepting the Dine NSW vouchers are Camjai Catering, Lazy Lizard Restaurant, Café Shazaray, Subway, Hall’s Coffee Cottage, Narrandera Golf Club and the Blue Apron Steakhouse.

But there are no Narrandera businesses registered for the Discover vouchers.

In outlying villages are the Commercial Hotel, Barellan, and Barellan and District War Memorial Club, the Morundah Hotel, Ardlethan Bowling Club, and Ganmain and District Sports Club.

Narrandera Business Group secretary Josie Marks said the program’s benefits were positive for stimulating economic activity in the town.

“A lot of our members are either using vouchers themselves or had seen people in all the different places in town pulling out their vouchers,” Miss Marks said.

“It has definitely been beneficial and positive in stimulating local businesses.

“It was a shame no local businesses registered for the Discover (vouchers) but we weren’t sure if there could be places in town we could be encouraging to register if it is not too late.

“In the smaller towns this type of initiative can have a lot bigger impact than in some of the larger centres.”

Narrandera Business Group president John Foster said regional residents had responded well to the strong Buy Local, Shop Local message during and post-COVID.

“This is just another way to support them,” Mr Foster said. “All our members with them said how great it was to go out and dine locally, and feel like they are supporting the business. “With the multiplier effect, that $50 spent could equate to $150 for the regional economy.”

Lazy Lizard Restaurant operator Karen Redman said the vouchers had encouraged the visitation of patrons normally only dining out for special occasions.

“Whether it generates extra income, we will see at the end of June,” she said. “It has been a great stimulus for the town – it would have been nice if the NSW Government gave people $100 worth of dining vouchers instead of $50.”

Ms Redman has encouraged her motel patrons to use their Discover vouchers at Altina Wildlife Park and Wagga Wagga Ten Pin Bowling.

NSW Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said every dollar counts when rebuilding businesses hit hardest by the pandemic.

“And this program is helping get more customers through the door in the regions,” Minister Dominello said. “It’s not too late for eligible businesses and customers to register, which is simple and can be done online.”

Narrandera Argus 13 May 2021

This article appeared in the Narrandera Argus, 13 May 2021.


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