Small businesses and their customers have been left frustrated and disappointed after allocated funds for the ChooseCBR scheme were exhausted just 24 hours after it was relaunched on Friday.
Shadow Minister for Business Leanne Castley said business owners and members of the community have raised concerns directly with her office regarding the program.
“While it is pleasing to see that some Canberrans embraced the relaunched scheme, it remains unclear if the $2 million went to businesses that really need it,” Ms Castley said.
“Concerns have been raised with me about the misuse of vouchers and the inequitable distribution of funds.
“It’s a real kick in the guts for small businesses who put in upwards of 15 hours’ work to be eligible for each of the iterations of ChooseCBR, only to receive $20 or $50 in total benefit.
“I welcome any measure that assists Canberra businesses. However, this scheme has been plagued with problems from the beginning and caused undue stress on business owners, staff and customers.
“The Minister for Business must be upfront and transparent with Canberrans and tell them where and how the vouchers were redeemed.
“The government must also explain how they got it so wrong not once but twice after they were forced to suspend the program last week following a series of technical difficulties.
“How much money did they waste fixing problems that should never have occurred in the first place and could have been better spent helping our small businesses?
“A full and transparent audit of the scheme should give the community the answers they are looking for,” Ms Castley concluded.