Dining out and entertainment to get 'massive' voucher boost as part of budget

Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders MP welcomed the announcement of the Out and About scheme, calling it a 'massive boost' for the businesses that will be able to opt-in to the program.
Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders MP welcomed the announcement of the Out and About scheme, calling it a 'massive boost' for the businesses that will be able to opt-in to the program.

An extra $100 worth of spending power will be one of the state government's flagpole policies announced in the NSW state budget on Tuesday.

The Out and About scheme will give all adults across the state four $25 vouchers to be spent at restaurants, cinemas and other eligible outlets in 2021, following a trial period of the initiative in Sydney this December.

Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders MP welcomed the announcement, calling it a 'massive boost' for the businesses that will be able to opt-in to the program.

"I think it'll be a massive boost for everything from theatres, cinemas to restaurants, it's a really good one for not just the regional areas, but very good for wider NSW," Mr Saunders said.

"A lot of our venues are already involved in that digital change, this is becoming the way a lot of these things are being delivered in the future."

The scheme was announced as part of Treasurer Dominic Perrottet's attempt to restart the economy following a year where COVID's impacts had serious knock-on effects on businesses and consumers alike.

Everyone over the age of 18 will be eligible to claim the vouchers, with the items being distributed through the Service NSW mobile app, although other options may be available in regional areas.

"I'm making it a bit of a point to have a yarn to the treasurer, there possibly do need to be tweaks to that, not everyone in regional areas has a smartphone to use that app," Mr Saunders said.

"I've asked for the change to be made regionally that there will be paper vouchers available at Service NSW offices for those people to access."

Mr Saunders also flagged that further changes could be made to accommodate regional areas.

"We have to make sure we take into account regional areas, we need to have a bit of a touch point with regional areas," Mr Saunders said.

Two of the $25 sums will be available for spending at cafes, clubs and restaurants to aid the food industry, while the other two will be available for spending on entertainment outlets like cinemas, amusement parks and zoos.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet, while making the announcement, said the $500 million program is designed to aid the industries hit hardest by COVID-19.

"No industry has felt the economic impacts of COVID-19 more than the hospitality, arts and tourism industries," Mr Perrottet said.

"NSW acted swiftly to save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19 and we want to help businesses by encouraging spending within local communities, especially within the hospitality, arts and tourism sectors."

Retail spending won't be possible through the use of the vouchers, and alcohol and cigarettes will also be prohibited.

The vouchers will be able to be used at eligible, COVID-safe businesses that have voluntarily signed on to the scheme.