With many businesses closing their doors during Victoria’s six-week lockdown, and fears some may not reopen, the state government has launched a campaign aimed at buying local.
The $1.5 million Click for Vic campaign was launched on Sunday, but the state Opposition has said much more may need to be done to get businesses through the second wave.
What is Click for Vic?
The Click for Vic campaign will be rolled out across television, print, radio, digital and social media channels to encourage Victorians to support one another by buying local produce, meals, alcohol and even music.
Under Melbourne’s Stage 4 restrictions, many workplaces have closed entirely, while others are operating at reduced capacity.
Many regional Victorian businesses operating under Stage 3 restrictions have had to reduce their output, while cafes and restaurants remain open for takeaway only across the state.
Financial support is available, but there have been fears the second, tougher shutdown could be the end for many Victorian businesses.
The Click for Vic campaign centres around a website that collates what Premier Daniel Andrews called “a quality offering” of Victoria’s best goods and produce.
“Whilst many, many businesses are closed and Victorians are not in a position to be able to be out shopping other than for the absolute basics, there are so many outstanding products, so many outstanding small businesses for whom quality is the real key,” Mr Andrews said.
“And it’s only appropriate that we work as hard as we can to try and direct Victorians to those amazing Victorian businesses.”
Who is involved?
The campaign has partnered with Providoor, a delivery service for some of Melbourne’s top-end restaurants, Co-Lab Pantry, which involves a range of hospitality businesses, and Victorian Country Market, which delivers fresh produce via its online marketplace.
A slew of other restaurants, cafes, fashion brands, produce providers and retail outlets have been included in the campaign.
Providoor was launched earlier this year by chef Shane Delia, who is known for his SBS cooking show and Maha restaurant.
“Don’t get me wrong, you’re never going to be able to replace the romance and the experience of coming to a restaurant and being around your favourite friends and the venue that you love,” Delia said.
“But what Providoor has done has given restaurants a chance to connect directly with their customers, keep their relationship strong, and bring a little bit of that magic into people’s homes.”
The campaign will include promotional videos from regional producers like Sallie Jones of Gippsland Jersey, Nathan Cowan of Billson’s Brewery in Beechworth and Gabrielle Moore of Sailors Grave Brewing in Orbost.
What other support is available?
Under the initiative, online market places primarily selling Victorian agricultural produce will be able to apply for grants to help with the cost of onboarding, online marketing and registration fees.
Marketplaces can also apply for funding to cover freight costs to reduce delivery fees for customers.
The Premier also said the state’s business support fund, launched during the crisis, had approved more than 126,000 applications and paid out about $1.3 billion.
Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien said more needed to be done to support small businesses, particularly sole traders, through the restrictions.
“Small business are doing it so tough at the moment,” he said.
“A website’s one thing, but the government should be putting its hand in its pocket to really support small business.”
Could it last for longer than the lockdown?
Delia hopes so.
The chef said it was an opportunity for the hospitality industry to work with governments on reform and focus on how the industry moves forward.
“We’ve actually unlocked an opportunity to create new revenue streams for the long term. We don’t see this as a COVID business. We see this as a thriving business post-COVID,” he said.
“But what it’s also done is it’s given the wider community, the ecosystem around restaurants a chance to survive too.
“You’re talking about fruit and veg growers, you’re talking about sparkies who need to go in and repair things, you’re talking about air-conditioning mechanics and all these guys who rely on restaurant trade who sometimes get forgotten about.”