Docklands Dollars is live!
By Jack Hayes
After a 12-month incubation period, the Docklands Dollars program has been given the green light in a bid to stimulate an estimated $3-5 million in local spending.
The Docklands Chamber of Commerce (DCC), in partnership with the Victorian Government, City of Melbourne and Development Victoria, has launched the program which is designed to encourage visitors to stay, eat, buy, play and then redeem a generous portion of the money they spend in Docklands.
The program will see a $100 rebate for a two- night stay in Docklands. A further $110 rebate is also available across five categories of spend- ing: retail, services, restaurants, attractions and fast food.
According to DCC president, Johanna Maxwell, the Docklands Dollar program is the chamber’s most significant initiative to date, built out of the necessity to fuel spending in postcode 3008.
“We actually conceptualised this just one week into the first lockdown but already then we knew there had to be a special program to get people back to Docklands,” she said. “We’re very proud of what we have come up with and our traders are buzzing and ready to receive customers.”
Participants can register via a dedicated website – www.docklandsdollars.com.au – where they will have 30 days to activate their registration, complete their two-night stay and then have a further 30 days to submit receipts to receive their rebates directly into their bank accounts.
According DCC vice-president and Quest Docklands/NewQuay director, Daniel Hibberd, the program will shift the current narrative while supporting small to medium businesses in Docklands.
“There is a bit of a perception that Docklands and the CBD may not be back to normal. For us, that couldn’t be further from the truth,” Mr Hibberd said.
“Docklands is just as beautiful as it has ever been and our community of small businesses have done an incredible job to provide the reassurance and confidence for visitors to venture out of their homes and enjoy everything Docklands has to offer.”
“At Quest Docklands and NewQuay, we have needed to look at market segments that are more varied to ensure we aren’t reliant on one section of the market. Through the Docklands Dollars initiative, we will see a wide range of visitors ranging from regional tourists, festival and events goers, people going to the football, all spending and staying in Docklands. It’s hard not to get excited by that.”
Along with the DCC the City of Melbourne has provided the eight other recognised precinct associations with an additional $100,000 one-off payment for activation programs as part of the joint $100 million Melbourne City Recovery Fund in partnership with the Victorian Government.
Lord Mayor, Sally Capp, said Docklands Dollars would deliver an important boost to local businesses.
“Docklands Dollars is designed to attract people into Docklands and get them spending in restaurants, cafes, retail stores and hotels,” the Lord Mayor said.
“We want a vibrant and thriving Docklands with restaurants, cafes and retail stores filled with people.”
“With vouchers, gift cards and competitions on offer, everyone should take the opportunity to get out and discover all the unique and amaz- ing experiences that can only be found in the City of Melbourne.”
According to the City of Melbourne, councillors will this week consider the Business Precinct Program 2021-25.
The proposal includes updated guidelines and a new funding model for the program, which has operating since 1999, in order to reward robust membership and enable efficient administration. The new program would be open for existing precincts as well as other relevant incorporated trader associations to apply •