The Victorian Greens have called on the state government to introduce a voucher program for Melbourne accommodation, theatre and the arts, following the announcement of an expanded voucher program in NSW today.
In a letter to the Premier, the Treasurer, and Ministers Danny Pearson and Martin Pakula, the Greens have said introducing such a program would help entice people back into the CBD and provide a much-needed boost to workers and businesses.
Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell, said that while Victorians would likely flock to the regions once lockdown is over, it was our inner city that had suffered the most with metro Melbourne enduring a much harder and longer lockdown than most places in the world.
The rolling lockdowns have hit Melbourne’s economy hard with the loss of CBD workers, international students, tourism, events, shows and festivals.
She said that another round of City of Melbourne and state government dining vouchers for the CBD are likely to be announced soon, which is very welcome, but that an expanded program which included vouchers for accomodation, galleries and theatres in the city (as NSW’s program does) would help build confidence for CBD businesses and the arts which have lost so much during the pandemic.
As stated by Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens, Ellen Sandell MP:
“After almost two years of rolling lockdowns it’s important the government does what it can to reinvigorate our CBD and remind Victorians why it’s such a special place.
“A voucher program would send a signal that the CBD is ready to welcome people back in a safe way, and give a much-needed boost to workers and businesses in this important part of our state, especially our arts and live performance sector who are the cultural lifeblood of our city but have been especially hard hit.”