The NSW Govt Is Giving Locals $100 To Spend On Food & Entertainment

The Out and About vouchers are meant to boost the local economy.

NSW residents are waking to the sweet, sweet news they'll each be getting $100 by the state govt to spend on eating out and doing fun stuff – lovely! 

The Out and About voucher scheme is set to be trialled in December and formally launched in early 2021. It's a pretty bold move by the NSW govt considering it'll cost it a cool $500 million, landing the govt in even more debt. The idea behind it, though, is that it'll keep the economy flowing past Christmas.

Now for the fine print: For starters, the $100 is only available to those who are 18 and above. Also, it'll come in the form of four $25 vouchers that you'll only be able to access by downloading the Service NSW mobile app. 

Two of the vouchers can be used for food at restaurants, cafés and clubs while the other two can be used for entertainment – think cultural institutions, performing arts, cinemas and amusement parks. Also, all the venues must have signed up to be part of the scheme.

The vouchers can't be used on retail, alcohol, gambling or cigarettes, and can't be combined. So, if you spend less than $25 on something, the remaining amount can't be used elsewhere. Also, you might only be allowed to use the dining vouchers on less busy days, say between Mondays and Thursdays. 

"We want to encourage people to open up their wallets and contribute to the stimulus effect," Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said via the ABC.

"The dining and entertainment industries were among the hardest hit by the pandemic and I would encourage people to utilise this scheme once it is up and running and to make sure they spend a bit extra on the way through, too."

While $100 is great and all, there are people who need far more than a hundred dollar entertainment voucher. This is one of several initiatives the NSW govt is doing to help its residents and economy after a rough eight months of restrictions. Some other initiatives include offering thousands of businesses a payroll tax cut; giving businesses who move their HQs to NSW a further tax break; and offering women who have been out of work for a month $5000 grants as part of a return-to-work program. 

"We will generate momentum in the short term, then reinforce our finances with the discipline that has defined our time in office," Perrottet said. In other words: this voucher stuff is just the beginning. We hope so.

Written by Sangeeta Kocharekar, an American-born, Sydney-based writer at MTV. Photos from her pre-COVID-19 days as a travel writer are here.