Card confusion doesn’t halt big spend

Confusion surrounding the use of the Revive Morwell gift cards has not stopped more than $300,000 being spent in the town’s businesses so far.

Hazelwood mine operator GDF Suez distributed the $100 cards to 6700 households last week to be spent in Morwell stores on most items, except for alcohol, cigarettes and gambling.

GDF Suez spokesman Trevor Rowe said retailers were told about these exemptions, but in the instance of dining venues, individuals could use the card to purchase alcohol to consume with their meal.

“However, takeaway alcohol was not permitted,” Mr Rowe said.

“We have had reports of this from concerned community members and have followed up with the relevant retailer.”

Mr Rowe said the company was “disappointed” if purchases of prohibited items were made.

The Express also received reports some retailers were unclear how the alcohol and cigarette restriction was enforced, resulting in some purchases of these items made using the cards.

Retailers have also questioned the introduction date of the initiative, with one business-owner saying he was under the impression the cards could not be used until Monday and had turned customers away on Saturday only to find they had spent the voucher elsewhere that same day.

Mr Rowe did not say such a distinction had been made, but admitted there were some “grey areas”.

“There were some logistics that we had to ensure were in place for the program to commence as of Monday, 26 May as it was intended,” Mr Rowe said.

“This required the cards to be loaded and ready for people to spend. If retailers chose to accept the cards in advance of Monday then it is their choice.

“Obviously there are some grey areas, but overall we have injected some $300,000 into the retail sector to date, which is always what the program was designed to do.”