Council is urging residents of the Moree Plains, along with their friends and families, to support the retailers that support our local community by purchasing a Love Local Gift Card this Christmas.
The Love Local Gift Card is being launched by council in November in order to celebrate the Plains' unique and boutique retail sector and stave off the detrimental effects of drought on the local economy.
Mayor Katrina Humphries urged local businesses and customers to support the fully-funded initiative.
"We all need to support the retailers that make our main streets desirable places to be and provide an invaluable service to the community", she said.
"We are fortunate to have many great operators in our retail sector who provide an unparalleled range of products and services to our locals, however the drought has invariably taken its toll on their businesses.
"This is why we all need to show our support by shopping locally this Christmas, and council is providing the means to do so by launching the Love Local Gift Card this November."
The Love Local Gift Cards will work like an ordinary EFTPOS card, however can only be redeemed in businesses within the Moree Plains Shire that have signed up to be part of the program. All the establishment costs for the program have been met by council, allowing all registered businesses to participate for free.
"For this initiative to work, we need as many businesses as possible to sign up to participate in the program from all across the Shire," council's acting economic development and grants manager Susannah Pearse added.
"The program is being run at zero cost to businesses including participating store setup, advertising and promotional support all of which is covered by council."
Mrs Pearse explained that the program also provides an opportunity for friends and family from outside of the Shire to support the drought-affected community, with the cards available to be purchased online and shipped to the recipient.
"We know that a lot of locals are also doing it tough at present with limited funds available for the usual preparation for Christmas," she said.
"These cards provide a means of bringing a vital injection of potentially new funds into the local economy."
To participate in the program, businesses must have a functioning EFTPOS facility and offer some kind of retail product or service. To submit an Expression of Interest to participate as a redemption and/or load-up store, business owners must complete the online form available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/77CH5K5 by Wednesday, October 23.
"In my mind, the best gift you can give someone in a drought ravaged area is one that contributes to the ongoing viability of their hometown", Cr Humphries said.
"I encourage everyone to ask their friends and family to support the initiative, and choose to support the Moree Plains this Christmas."
For more information, contact council's Economic Development team on 6757 3222.