NSW may issue vouchers to help hospitality

·1-min read

The NSW government is considering giving households vouchers of up to $100 each to pay for a meal in a bid to boost the state's hospitality sector.

The $500 million proposal could be announced in the state budget on November 17.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday wouldn't confirm the budget measure but said it was being considered.

"We get how tough it is for families at the moment, what a stressful year everyone's had, how tough it is for small businesses," Ms Berejiklian told 2GB radio.

"If we did go down that path ... it would be a positive thing."

It comes as the NSW hospitality sector bears the brunt of the economic recession prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

One in three accommodation and food sector jobs were lost in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic, ABS data shows, as well as more than a quarter of arts and recreation jobs.

A Deloitte Access Economics study in May warned Australia's hospitality and arts sectors may not return to their pre-pandemic state for up to five years.

However, some restrictions on hospitality in NSW have recently been lifted, with maximum group bookings extended from 10 to 30 and outdoor dining rules eased.

The NSW Labor opposition said it would support the voucher program and wanted it in place by December 1.

"In principle, this is a nice idea and should have occurred months ago," shadow treasurer Walt Secord said in a statement on Friday.

"This is a stimulus plan for restaurants and it's a small gesture to the community. It's been a tough year for families and the hospitality sector."