With the economic fog of Omicron still blanketing the southern state, the Victorian Government has delivered a stimulus package designed to get the state’s cash flowing again.

With retail recovery still slow, consumer confidence low, and small businesses getting battered by cash flow and supply issues, it’s hoped that these recent stimulus measures will give the state a financial shot in the arm.

The vouchers and schemes will be launched separately during March 2022.

What’s on offer and how will you benefit?

Who is the target?

The $200 million stimulus package, announced by Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula and Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson, is targeted squarely at the hospitality and tourism sectors.

With hospitality and tourism being particularly battered by a lack of patronage and investment, the package has sights on boosting cash flow in these key sectors of the economy.

Extended voucher scheme for consumers

In a move to incentivise patrons to re-enter city and retail spaces, the voucher scheme has been revamped.

$100 million (or half) of the package is earmarked for vouchers for travel, entertainment and dining.

Mr Pakula spoke about the aim of the announced stimulus boosters,

“We’re encouraging Victorians to experience the best the state has to offer by going to see a show, having lunch with friends or visiting somewhere new.

“Business and consumer confidence are critical for our continued economic recovery and that’s why we’re investing in these programs to deliver a boost where it is needed most.”

The voucher breakdown

  • $10 million will be invested in Melbourne specific ‘Melbourne Money’ which is being used to entice people back into city cafes, bars and restaurants by subsidising their bills.
  • $30 million will be invested into ‘State-wide Dining Vouchers’ (outside of Melbourne city) which will provide consumer rebates on food and wine experiences.
  • $30 million will be invested into the ‘Entertainment Voucher Scheme’ across the state, targeting: theatre, live music, cinemas, museums, galleries, conferences, exhibitions, and other events.
  • $30 million will be invested into a new round of the ‘Travel Voucher Scheme’, which will entice people to holiday within the state and will add incentives to money spent on accommodation, attractions, and tours.
  • There will also be an additional $10 million in travel vouchers to be offered to senior citizens, using a ballot process.

Assistance for small businesses

Alongside the increase of vouchers for consumers, there will also be a number of incentives allocated for small businesses operating in Victoria.

While boosting consumer confidence and providing customer incentives is vital, this also needs to be matched with business- specific assistance to get Victoria past the Omicron slump.

What are small businesses getting?

  • A $60 million ‘Ventilation Voucher Program’ will be offered to assist small businesses to buy equipment and upgrades to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace and improve consumer confidence. The program will offer both rebates of up to $5,000 on top of $500 vouchers. These vouchers are there to cover buying air purifiers, ventilators and other COVIDSafe maintenance.
  • $5 million will be invested into expanding the ‘Small Business Digital Adaptation Program’ which will provide rebates of up to $1,200 so small businesses can access a range of digital tools.
  • There will also be an extension of the ‘Business Recovery and Resilience Mentoring Program’ which will mean more small businesses will have access to various types of business coaching.
  • On the job front, roughly $34.2 million in funds from ‘Jobs Victoria’ will be earmarked for job placement in over 1,500 jobs across industries that include hospitality, warehousing and logistics, tourism, and food processing.

For a full detailed breakdown of the specifics of the new Omicron package, please see the official Business Victoria page here.