NSW business leaders call for reinstatement of dining vouchers

NSW business leaders call for reinstatement of dining vouchers
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A New South Wales business group is calling for the reinstatement of dining vouchers to provide a boost to cafes and restaurants struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.

Business Sydney executive director Paul Nicolaou said many small to medium-sized businesses “are feeling the pinch” due to factors such as reduction in discretionary spending and higher running costs.

The advocacy group has called for a scheme similar to the state’s Dine and Discover scheme introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic ahead of the upcoming NSW state budget in June.

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Business Sydney executive director Paul Nicolaou said many small to medium-sized businesses have felt the pinch due to a reduction in discretionary spending and higher running costs.

“A lot of businesses across Sydney and in Parramatta are struggling because of the fact that a lot of people are holding off from spending money,” Nicolaou told 9News.

“There is also a rise in unemployment and therefore there will also be a number of people who will be unable to go out to restaurants and cafes as they did before.

“It’s tougher now than it was during COVID-19.”

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Business Sydney has called for support similar to the state's Dine and Discover scheme.

The call for better support comes amid tougher conditions in the hospitality sector which was highlight in Business NSW’s Business Conditions Survey earlier this year.

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The report found 35 per cent of hospitality sector businesses in NSW are contemplating closure, which is roughly double the 18 per cent for businesses generally.

Almost half of hospitality businesses have had to reduce staff hours or employee head count and 61 per cent are having cash flow disruptions.

More than 80 per cent reported a decline in customer visits and 77 per cent reported lower customer spending.

This week hatted restaurant Redbird and its sister eatery Tequila Daisy will shut up shop, while Japanese restaurant Tetsuya’s has announced it will close in July after 35 years.

Already this month, Secolo Balmain, Lima Bar in Bondi and Crown Sydney’s Silks have closed.

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