Did you fill out the survey about the ChooseCBR digital voucher program?
The government wanted feedback from users about the program which saw the $2 million in available vouchers used within 24 hours last month.
The survey asked some interesting questions. And by interesting, I mean questionable questions.
So, we were asked what we liked most about the scheme. Fair enough. I thought it was easy to use, once it was working.
But! Were we asked what we liked least about the scheme. Of course not. Just how we think things could be improved.
That kind of sets up the expectation the survey is somehow skewed to providing only positive comments about the ChooseCBR scheme, ready-made for some told-you-so press releases to be put out by the government down the track. "See! People really liked the scheme! The survey says!"
The fact we were asked how to improve the scheme suggests the government believes it is inherently worthwhile and should be kept. I'd say no. But more on that in a bit.
And, yes, there was an opportunity at the end of the survey to add further comments. Let's hope they see the light of day.
Surveys and survey results became a political tool in the ACT around 2008-2009 when the Labor government was getting some heat for its kangaroo culling program.
The survey back then of 600 randomly selected Canberrans didn't only ask them what they thought about the kangaroo culling per se and whether or not it was a good idea to help preserve native grasslands.
No. It also asked respondents if they had a car and if that car had ever hit a kangaroo and whether they'd support kangaroo culling to reduce motor vehicle collisions. Kind of put a different spin on the whole thing and made it more about how people were personally affected by kangaroos. Of those people who owned a car, 17 per cent, or nearly one in five, had hit a kangaroo with their vehicle.
The survey duly found 76 per cent of respondents chose the statement: "I believe that the killing of kangaroos is appropriate under certain circumstances." The government had the headline it needed.
So, what is actually asked in surveys is important.
The ChooseCBR voucher scheme, although well-intentioned, was, let's face it, not ideal.
People who didn't have a smart phone couldn't use it. People who physically couldn't get to the shops couldn't use it. The benefits were reaped, let's get real, by only a small percentage of businesses. It's still not explained how the money was used so quickly.
I was in the Kambah IGA early on the Saturday morning the vouchers dried up. People were lined up at the counters with full trolleys. Not something you often see in an IGA which is usually about grabbing a few essentials. They were obviously looking to spend $100 to get the $50 voucher. It took time to get each customer through the tills, with so many items. The staff were lovely and did their very best.
In the line, we were watching on our phones the tally of used vouchers race towards the $2 million cut-off point. And I mean race, like at least $1000 a minute. There must have been some quick-fire scanning going on somewhere. Or something. Anyway, the vouchers ran out and some people in the line put back all their items. I still bought my trolley of overpriced items without the voucher. Ouch.
Anyway, can we just consider what NSW has done with its Dine and Discover vouchers? They were much more equitable and usable.
All NSW residents, aged 18 or over, could apply for four $25 vouchers. Two vouchers could be used for dining in or takeaway meals from restaurants, clubs, cafes and so on. The other two vouchers could be used for entertainment and recreation.
The vouchers were available in digital format but a printed voucher could also be used if people did not have a mobile device. NSW residents also had a reasonable time limit - weeks and weeks - to use the vouchers. No panicked buying here.
The deadline to use the vouchers has just been extended to August 31 to give residents the opportunity to use them and support small businesses once Covid restrictions were eased.
The NSW government says almost 10 million vouchers have been redeemed, with an average spend $39.66.
Let's give it a go, maybe?
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: