ACT Government must reveal all about ChooseCBR


Shadow Minister for Business Leanne Castley will move a motion in the Legislative Assembly today calling for a comprehensive audit of the ChooseCBR scheme.

The motion calls on the Legislative Assembly to write to the ACT Auditor-General by the end of the sitting week requesting he conduct the audit.

Ms Castley said there are serious questions about the scheme’s integrity which is why an independent audit is necessary.

“On June 3 the Business Minister said the government had made the revamped ChooseCBR “as simple as possible” yet it was riddled with problems,” Ms Castley said.

“Just 24 hours after the scheme was resurrected last Friday, the funds dried up, with reports that vouchers were redeemed late into the night.

“How did the government monitor the scheme to ensure vouchers were not misused and people were doing the right thing? I raised this concern with the Minister’s office before the scheme kicked off.”

Other issues an audit should examine include:

  • Which businesses benefitted and by how much?
  • How many people benefitted and by how much?
  • Was there any misappropriation of funds?
  • What were the admin and marketing costs as well as the costs of designing the website and fixing the raft of technical problems?

“We know the ChooseCBR trial was a dud with only 336 small businesses participating yet less than one quarter of eligible businesses signed up for the revamped scheme,” Ms Castley said.

“Canberrans must have confidence the government got it right and ChooseCBR supported struggling businesses that genuinely needed help.

“The Canberra Liberals support measures that assist our 30,000 small businesses which employ one in four Canberrans, but the Minister must be upfront with the community about how the scheme operated.

“Was the government up to the job? Only a comprehensive independent audit will reveal the true story and help Canberrans answer that question,” concluded Ms Castley