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Less than 10 per cent of NSW residents have their Dine & Discover vouchers - here's how to apply

Fewer than 10 per cent of the $25 vouchers Dine $ Discover vouchers  have been used with just six weeks left before the high-profile scheme ends.  

The state government scheme - to give five million locals four $25 vouchers to spend in pubs, restaurants and entertainment premises, such as cinemas, galleries and live music venues - was supposed to inject $500million into the Covid-hit economy.

While 2.6 million people have registered for their vouchers, the very low uptake of the vouchers has led to calls for the expiry dates to be extended.

There's six weeks left to run on the Dine & Discover voucher scheme - intended to inject $500million into the Covid-hit economy - but only 10 per cent of the vouchers have been spent leaving small businesses feeling short-changed

Pictured: A woman dining at The Rook, which is one of the ten venues where patrons can score a $50 booze voucher

With time running out on the vouchers, one of the state's major hospitality chains, Merivale - which has over 70 venues around greater Sydney - still doesn't accept them.

'Dine & Discover vouchers are not currently usable at Merivale venues, but they will be soon,' the company said in a statement.

Daniel Mookhey, opposition spokesman for finance and small business told Daily Mail Australia 'the NSW government is in danger of tripping over their own red tape'.

Cinemas, which have seen their business smashed by Covid, are among the entertainment venues accepting Dine & Discover vouchers 

A customer is pictured at the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel in Sydney's eastern suburbs. The venue is one of the businesses offering double value to Dine & Discover voucher holders

'I'm worried that too much red tape by the government is stopping some businesses from accepting the vouchers.'

Mr Mookhey said that at the moment, 'the government has no chance' of reaching the targeted $500million boost to small business by the June 30 cut-off date.

'With the program set to close within two months, it's clear there will be substantial amounts of money that will be left over and not handed out to the small businesses that desperately need it.'

Mr Mookhey said the scheme should not have an expiry date and 'should stay open until every last dollar is spent.'

'This money will do more good in the tills of NSW small businesses than it would sitting in the Treasury's bank account.' 

NSW Minister for Customer Service Victor Dominello said the government would consider options for unspent money, the ABC reported.

You won't get change on a meal less than $25, so to ensure you get the full value, put your Dine & Discover voucher a meal worth at least $25

Meanwhile, Sydneysiders who use their Dine & Discover vouchers at select restaurants and bars will be able to score $50 worth of free drinks - despite the official coupons not being eligible for alcohol.

Daily Mail Australia revealed on Tuesday that hospitality giant Australian Venue Co is offering to double their customers' vouchers - meaning each is worth $50 - if used at one of their ten Sydney restaurants and bars.

Now the company has confirmed that while Dine & Discover vouchers cannot be spent on alcohol, the bonus voucher issued at AVC venues can be used to buy wine, beer, spirits and cocktails.

The loophole allows customers to spend up to $25 per visit on food using the government-issued vouchers, and get an extra $25 to spend on drinks using the vouchers from AVC. 

Over two visits, this could scoop customers $50 worth of free booze. 

How to register get and use your Dine & Discover vouchers

If you are aged 18 or over you can apply for and use four $25 Dine & Discover vouchers anytime up til and including June 30.

You don't need the Service NSW app to apply for them - you can do that online at service.nsw.gov.au - but you will need the four separate QR codes (which are easiest to read on the app, using a smartphone) to actually spend them.

To receive the four $25 vouchers you will need to apply online or at a Service NSW office and have your ID verified 

Step 1: Register

It's much easier with an online MyServicesNSW account, otherwise you'll need to call 13 77 88 and/or go into a Services NSW office to verify your ID first.

To create an online MyServicesNSW account you need an email address and Australian mobile number to use for verification. This takes 5 minutes.

You need to log in to this account to begin.

On the Services NSW app, select vouchers, or if you are on the Services NSW homepage you'll need to scroll to find 'highlights', then come down to select 'apply'.

You need to verify two forms of ID online - you'll be prompted to allow your camera to scan your driver's licence and Medicare card, but if you don't have one of these, there are other options including passport and birth certificate.

Once these are scanned successfully, you will need to provide personal details such as address, phone number and email address.

Once submitted, the automated system should send you a note to say your vouchers are being processed and will arrive within one hour.

Applying for the vouchers takes about 10 minutes and they are emailed to you within the hour - so why aren't we using them?

Step 2: Redeem them

You should receive an email confirming your application has been approved.

The email will have the four $25 vouchers in a PDF and they will also appear under 'vouchers' in your MyServicesNSW account in the Services NSW app.

To redeem the four vouchers you need to present them - only one per visit - to the business you want to dine with or 'discover' and they need the QR code for each.

Again, it's easiest to show the QR codes from the app on your smartphone, but you can also show the code from the confirmation email (mentioned above) or even print out the voucher and QR code on paper and present that. 

A crucial step is finding where you can spend them: the Services NSW app and servicensw.gov.au has a search bar where you can find where to spend them, searching by postcode, suburb or business name.

You cannot spend all four $25 vouchers on a meal: only two of the vouchers  can be used for eating in - but only one per visit.

So that means you have to sit down to eat at a restaurant or pub - you cannot use a voucher to pay for takeaways.

The other two voucher are meant to be spent with 'entertainment' businesses including sports venues, art galleries, live music venues, cinemas and cruises.

Some companies that specialise in 'experiences' are accepting the vouchers towards the cost of their activities, such Red Balloon. 

An obvious shortcut to finding where to spend your vouchers is to ask the place you want to visit if they accept them. 

Dine & Discover fails 

Paying for something worth under $25 - you won't get change

Trying to pay for a $50 meal with 2 vouchers after your meal - you can only use one at a time

Applying if you are aged under 18 

You cannot use the vouchers to:

redeem for cash

trade or repay a debt 

use for takeaway meals

pay for online orders 

use for alcohol

buy tobacco

buy drugs 

spend on gambling

use them at a business that isn't registered to accept them 

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