The withdrawal of NSW Dine and Discover vouchers increases before midnight

New South Wales residents are frantically trying to use the last of their Dine and Discover vouchers before they expire at midnight.

The initiative, which offered individuals $150 in vouchers to spend on restaurants, arts and tourism businesses, was introduced to boost the state’s struggling economy at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello said the adoption in the past week has been extraordinary.

“We spent another $70 million in the last week, which is pretty good,” he said.

“The uptake is normally about 40,000 per day – it is now 400,000 per day.

Independent movie theaters and tourist offices are among the companies in the state that have reported customers rushing to use the vouchers.

A man in a suit and tie with his arms resting on a wooden desk in an office with artwork behind him.
Victor Dominello says the voucher scheme could potentially be localized to help problem areas in the future.ABC News: David Maguire

System crashes

The Service NSW app briefly crashed under the weight of demand on Wednesday evening.

“It was about 15 minutes that the service was not available, so I apologize for that,” said Mr. Dominello.

“The program has now been running for approximately 485 days and there have been approximately 23 hours of system downtime.

“So it’s inconvenient, but given the length of the program, I hope people understand.”

Mr Dominello said the initiative had been so successful that the government is considering running it again in the future.

“For example, if there is a fire in a certain area, we can – hypothetically – issue vouchers that can only be spent in that area,” he said.

“Treasury says this is a great way to have a multiplier effect on the economy and, most importantly, target it to those companies and sectors in need.”

NSW was the only state to roll out the vouchers using QR codes.

A Service NSW spokesperson said customers can redeem a Discover voucher before the June 30 deadline and use it for an activity scheduled after the closing date, provided it’s booked at the time of redemption.

Dinner vouchers cannot be prepaid or reserved for dates after June 30.

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