THE criticised ChooseCBR voucher scheme will be “paused” for a week after it was taken offline yesterday (June 10) due to ongoing technical issues since its launch on Wednesday.
Despite the scheme’s trial being declared a “dud” earlier this year by the Canberra Liberals over its low up-take and for being too complicated, the ACT government made $2 million worth of digital vouchers available.
It was active for less than two days before an email was sent out yesterday afternoon saying that in light of technical issues “we have made the difficult decision to take the site offline until 7am on Friday, June 11, to address the issues and ensure reliability.”
A second email was sent by the “ChooseCBR” team at about 6am saying: “We had hoped taking the site down would allow us to fully resolve these issues and prevent further frustrations for businesses and customers.
“Unfortunately, we have not yet been able to fully resolve the issues. Out of an abundance of caution — and so as to not cause further disruption and uncertainty — we have made the difficult decision to pause the program for a further seven days.
“We know Canberrans have embraced the scheme and have been looking forward to using their vouchers. We appreciate how frustrating this is and thank you for your patience and support for small business in Canberra.
“We anticipate the vouchers will be back online on the morning of Friday, June 18 and we will advise you ahead of time.”
Following the scheme’s “pause”, shadow business minister Leanne Castley was quick to criticise the government who had said they had improved the program.
Despite these comments, Canberrans have been unable to get through to the website and businesses unable to process the vouchers, she said.
“Multiple businesses are now no longer accepting the vouchers because the system is unreliable and causing too much stress,” she said.
IGA and Local Liquor in Deakin are no longer accepting ChooseCBR vouchers, according to a sign at the front of the store, which reads: “The system is unreliable and causes too much distress for our staff and customers.
“We apologise for trying to participate in this program. Please understand this is out of our control.”
Ms Castley agreed, saying it’s simply not fair and unacceptable for business owners, staff and customers to be put in this position.
“This is the second attempt at launching the ChooseCBR program and on both occasions there have been significant problems,” she said.
“The ChooseCBR trial was a flop with only 336 businesses signing up yet a staggering $123,000 wasted on admin costs.
“Now I fear the ChooseCBR program is going the same way. If this program does not help small business, it is a $2 million waste of money.”