On pause, website down: Australian states’ voucher schemes off to bumpy starts

Monbulk-street

A street in Monbulk, Victoria. Source: Wikicommons/Matthew Paul Argall.

State government voucher schemes are off to a bumpy start, after a Victorian government website crashed on Friday and New South Wales delayed its ‘Dine and Discover’ program.

The website for Victoria’s regional travel vouchers crashed on Friday due to heavy traffic, prompting the Victorian government to release an extra 30,000 vouchers, bringing the total number to 150,000.

The $200 vouchers are for residents who have already spent $400 on a trip to regional Victoria, the Yarra and Dandenong Ranges and the Mornington Peninsula, and are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Applications for the first round of 40,000 vouchers was meant to be available on the Business Victoria website at 10.00am on Friday, however, due to an error message and no ‘apply’ button, visitors to the site were unable to submit their applications.

The website is now working and, according to the ABC, 40,000 vouchers had been claimed by Friday evening.

Council for Small Business Organisations Australia CEO Peter Strong says he hopes the Victorian government consulted with business before rolling out the program.

“To me, it’s a sign that they have to consult with the community before they do things,” Strong tells SmartCompany.

Strong says the more a state government consults with the industries involved in these initiatives, the more effective they will be.

The New South Wales government was set to launch a trial of its ‘Dine and Discover’ voucher scheme, limited to The Rocks, on November 23.

However, after consulting with local businesses, which said they expected to be busy over the holiday period, the government announced it would delay the voucher scheme.

The trial is set to begin early next year.

The ‘Dine and Discover’ voucher program will give four $25 vouchers to every adult in New South Wales to spend on food and entertainment.

The delay in New South Wales’ voucher scheme and the high demand for Victoria’s regional travel vouchers raise doubts as to when such stimulus will most benefit businesses and the economy.

“We’re all still discovering when it’ll be needed,” Strong says.

“Having found out that businesses are doing well, it’s good that the NSW government changed its mind.”

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