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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 22 June 2021) . . Page.. 1854 ..

We understand that just six businesses withdrew from the scheme, but once the scheme was back up and running again on Friday, 18 June, that three businesses returned to the scheme. I have received anecdotal evidence that Deakin IGA was one of those, but I would need to get that double checked.

MR MILLIGAN: I have a supplementary question. Minister, how much money did ChooseCBR cost businesses as distressed staff were forced to clean up after your government’s mess?

MS CHEYNE: I partly reject the premise of the question. I think for many businesses this was a scheme that they willingly took part in. We had set out the terms and conditions of participating in the scheme clearly. But, absolutely, this was not the experience that we had promised them, and I have apologised unreservedly for the experience of business owners and staff.

MS CASTLEY: I have a further supplementary question. Minister, have you personally spoken to Deakin IGA and the other businesses and apologised for causing distress to their staff and customers?

MS CHEYNE: No, I have not spoken to those individual businesses. However, I have apologised publicly, and we communicated regularly with all businesses, including keeping them up to date on what was occurring. Those businesses that did withdraw were specifically reached out to by the ACT government, acknowledging that we understood and respected and regretted their decision to withdraw but that if, at any time, they wished to come back to the scheme, we would work with them to make that happen. So, while I did not directly get in touch with each of the individual businesses that withdrew, they did receive direct and bespoke communication from the ACT government.

Business—ChooseCBR scheme

MRS KIKKERT: My question is to the Minister for Business and Better Regulation. Minister, on page 12 of your statement this morning, you stated that work is still continuing to manually process vouchers which were accepted while the scheme was struggling in its first 24 hours. Additionally, you stated that money was saved by cancelling advertising. You also said that additional money was spent on technicians repairing the problems found during the shutdown and repair of the scheme. Minister, how much extra money was spent on technicians to repair the scheme?

MS CHEYNE: This was also detailed in my ministerial statement, in that those costs are still being compiled.

MRS KIKKERT: Minister, how much money was saved by cancelling advertising? Was there a fee involved?

MS CHEYNE: Again, this calculation is also being compiled. Yes, I suspect there would have been some cancellation fees with our advertising buys, but we had planned, if we needed it, a considerable marketing campaign, so there were savings there.

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