The Canberra Liberals have called for an independent review of the Choose CBR discount voucher scheme.
It comes after the program was closed, a little over 24 hours after being relaunched, when the full $2 million dollar funding limit was reached early on Saturday morning.
The short run of the program has attracted criticisms from a number of customers and businesses alike, many saying they unfairly missed with some questioning the integrity of the program.
Shadow Businesses Minister, Leanne Castley said an urgent investigation is needed.
“We’ve heard that people have been able to have multiple email addresses, it’s hearsay but we certainly need to look into it.”
Business Minister, Tara Cheyne has defended the program and said in the 25 hours that it operated between Friday and Saturday, $3.2 million dollars was injected into the local economy.
Some users of the program had questioned the validity of some of the participating busineses included in the scheme, with a number of small local supermarkets and chemists taking part this time around.
Ms Cheyne also defended their involvement, claiming a locally-owned franchise is still a small business that employs local people.
While she said she couldn’t reveal where the full $2 million of funding was spent, due to privacy reasons, she did offer this.
“From data last week, the most popular businesses were food retailers (small grocers, fresh food markets, seafood) followed by hospitality businesses.”
The Shadow Minister said while she welcomed the idea of the program, it’s clear there are some serious questions that need answering.
“I’m up for anything that helps small business but I’m not sure that all of this money has gone directly to the businesses that need it.”
“We’re asking the Government how much money was spent, how much did they spend fixing the problems in the first place and I believe we need a full and transparent audit – that’s what the community deserves cause they’re all asking the same question.”