NSW residents will be offered $100 accommodation vouchers as a further effort to help the economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state government will begin the latest stimulus scheme with 200,000 vouchers that will be valid on weekdays for businesses in the CBD.
“This package is about boosting confidence by supercharging the Sydney economy,” Tourism Minister Stuart Ayres said.
“We’ve rolled back restrictions further, people can get out and about across our wonderful city, and our businesses particularly here in Sydney need your support.”
The vouchers will be an extension of the Dine and Discover scheme, which offered four $25 vouchers — two for restaurants, cafes and clubs and the other two for entertainment activities.
The announcement also includes measures designed to support struggling live music venues and help encourage business events.
Up to $24 million will be provided to live music venues which have been crippled by additional debt or extra costs as a result of restricted trade or poor economic activity.
“A lot of these venues operate under existing use rights and there’s no guarantee that if they fall, that they won’t come back again,” Mr Ayres said.
He said venues would be categorised across three tiers, with a primary focus on venues that operate exclusively as live music venues.
Smaller grants would be offered to businesses whose offerings included live music.
The government said it would subsidise business events of more than 150 people, dollar-for-dollar, with grants of up to $30,000.
Events of fewer than 150 people would be eligible for grants of $15,000.
Emily Collins from Music NSW said it had been a “long road” to recovery.
“There’s no guarantee we will absolutely not see some losses along the way,” she said.
“But the good thing is this funding ensures that when we are ready to come back, full force, after COVID, [and] all the restrictions are lifted, that the music venues you love and know will be there.
“You’ll be able to come out and dance and enjoy. We’re absolutely thrilled as an industry to see this investment.”
Treasurer Dominic Perrottet defended the program against the suggestion there could be limited uptake because people may not be granted leave from work on weekdays.
“We are targeting this investment where it’s going to make the biggest impact and we want to drive accommodation during the week,” he said.
Mr Perrottet said an ironic “silver lining” of other states closing borders was that tourism within regional NSW had benefited.
“This is not a panacea, it is a contribution to help drive confidence with people from right across NSW to visit Sydney,” he said.