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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2021) . . Page.. 1829 ..

We received valuable feedback from businesses, consumers and industry stakeholders about the trial. The need for better marketing was a key theme, including enough time and material so that businesses and consumers were aware of the scheme, that businesses had time to learn about the scheme, sign up to it and begin promoting it to customers, and that consumers were aware of which businesses were participating, both through the ChooseCBR website and through the business’s own marketing.

Another key theme was about the voucher amounts and the voucher discounts. Businesses and consumers found the range of vouchers and the minimum spend confusing. On this basis, we determined that we had to increase the value proposition, essentially making the scheme more attractive to increase awareness—more attractive for businesses to want to participate in and more attractive so that consumers would use the vouchers with the intended aim of exploring Canberra businesses and spending more in store.

A final key bit of feedback regarded our use of JobKeeper as a criterion. To refresh members’ memories, the criteria to participate in the trial was that a business needed to have less than $10 million a year in annual turnover, that it had received JobKeeper at some point in 2020, that it was an eligible business under the ANZSIC codes—broadly retail, hospitality, tourism, arts and recreation or personal services—and that it operated in Canberra.

JobKeeper was used as a criterion to demonstrate hardship in assisting us to target businesses. However, we soon received feedback during the trial that businesses that had had hard years had been inadvertently excluded by using this criterion. Businesses needed to have been open for a year to receive JobKeeper so, automatically, businesses which opened in 2020 were excluded from JobKeeper and thus ChooseCBR.

We also learned that there were some businesses that had had very difficult years and, while they had been eligible for JobKeeper, they had not signed up to it. Again, this meant they missed out not just on JobKeeper but on being able to participate in ChooseCBR. Essentially, just because a business had not received JobKeeper, it did not mean that it had not been a difficult year for them.

In taking all of this feedback on board and in redesigning the scheme, we engaged on several occasions with industry stakeholders, including the Canberra Business Chamber, the Australian Hotels Association and Canberra Women in Business. Their advice was invaluable, and I want to stress my thanks to them for the time and considered thought they provided in ensuring the successful redesign.

On 18 May, we announced the redesign of the scheme and opened up registrations to businesses, welcoming back those who participated in the trial and wanted to participate again, and encouraging more businesses to get on board. We announced that the scheme would run again on 9 June, providing three weeks so that we could market to and approach businesses, to give them the time and the information they needed to make a decision about whether to participate.

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