Free money alert: New South Wales and Victoria are shouting residents in a bid to get their economies moving again after COVID-19.
NSW will pay up to $100 per person for meals, movies, zoo visits and more, while Victoria is offering $200 to help cover regional holidays.
And fear not, New South Welshmen: The New Daily has confirmed the program in NSW has no limit on places, enabling everyone who ticks a few boxes to grab a discount.
But Victorians aren’t so lucky. The scheme there is first come, first served, as explained below.
So, what else do you need to know?
NSW: How to get your hands on vouchers
NSW’s Dine & Discover vouchers will launch in early February.
But the vouchers won’t be redeemable everywhere; at least not at first.
They will roll out gradually, starting with a trial across The Rocks in Sydney’s CBD and Broken Hill in rural NSW.
We asked Service NSW for a precise date and didn’t get one. Sorry!
In late February, availability will expand to the entirety of Sydney’s CBD, the Northern Beaches and Bega Valley.
A statewide rollout will then begin in March, while applications for vouchers will stay open until the end of June.
How much and where to apply
All NSW residents aged 18 and over (sorry kids) can apply for up to four $25 vouchers, worth $100 in total.
They’re split into two categories: two $25 vouchers for eating in at eligible venues, and two $25 vouchers for spending on entertainment and recreation.
The dining vouchers can be used from Monday to Thursday (no weekends), while entertainment and recreation freebies will be available seven days a week.
None of the vouchers can be used on public holidays and must be spent at participating businesses (see below).
You’ll also need a MyServiceNSW account to apply through Service NSW’s smartphone application – this will require submitting an email and other personal information.
Where you can (and can’t) spend vouchers
Dining vouchers can be redeemed at restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars and clubs.
However, they can’t be used on tobacco, alcohol, gambling, accommodation or other retail products.
Entertainment and recreation vouchers can be used at cultural institutions, live music events and arts venues.
The participating business must also meet a few requirements, including having an Australian Business Number (ABN), being registered as COVID-safe, and operating in an eligible industry (above).
The NSW government will publish a searchable list of eligible businesses through the Service NSW app and on the Service NSW website once the program goes live.
How to get Victoria’s regional travel vouchers
Victoria will open applications for the third round of its regional travel voucher program on March 30 at 10am.
Make note of that time, because it will be first come, first served.
In fact, it’s proven difficult to get a voucher so far.
When the first round of $200 vouchers was released last December, the government’s website crashed, and while the second round went more smoothly last week, all 50,000 were allocated within 30 minutes.
Those who fancy their chances in the final round should know a few other things, too.
First, you’ll need to spend $400 out of your own pocket on accommodation, a tourism attraction, or tour in regional Victoria to be eligible.
Second, travel must take place between April 6 and May 31 in one of the 48 regional and rural council areas across the state (here’s a handy map).
If that sounds like you, then you’ll need to register on the Victorian government’s website on March 30.
If you’re lucky enough to get a voucher, the government will send you a confirmation email within a week, after which your trip can begin.
But it’s worth noting that you won’t actually get the money until after your trip, which makes this more of a reimbursement scheme.
The reimbursement period for the third round runs from May 10 to June 14, after which the government will give you the full $200.