15 December 2021

Much-needed cash injected into local economy thanks to Whitehaven vaccination drive

Local businesses are benefiting from a cash boost in the lead up to Christmas as a result of Whitehaven Coal’s COVID-19 Vaccination Reward Program, which is helping to keep its workforce and community safe while supporting the regional economy.

The Program was launched in September and encourages members of Whitehaven’s workforce to get vaccinated by offering $250 Why Leave Town gift cards redeemable at local businesses in Narrabri, Boggabri and Gunnedah to those who are fully vaccinated. The Program is open to all Whitehaven employees and contractors.

To date, over $355,000 worth of gift cards have been issued to spend in the Gunnedah and Narrabri Shires.

“As a major local employer, we know we have to do all we can to keep our people and our communities safe,” said Whitehaven Coal Managing Director and CEO Paul Flynn.

“Our COVID-19 Vaccination Reward Program is about encouraging our people to roll up their sleeve, get vaccinated and look after their team mates so we can all get back to sharing time with family and friends, particularly over the upcoming holiday period.”

“As a business, we spent almost $350 million with local suppliers in north west NSW in FY21 and programs like this are another way we can build on that contribution, to continue to support the local economy.

“Whether the gift cards are used to buy a Christmas gifts from local retailers or to enjoy a night out with family, we’re proud to be able to provide opportunities for our people to contribute to the fantastic local businesses in north west NSW.”

Bernard Etheridge runs Mornington Butchery in Gunnedah, and is one of the business owners who has seen an influx of customers using the Why Leave Town gift cards.

“It’s great to see Whitehaven helping out other local businesses by offering these vouchers to encourage their people to spend more locally,” said Mr Etheridge.

The program has also been welcomed by the Narrabri and District Chamber of Commerce, with President Russell Stewart praising the impact it would have for businesses after another challenging year.

“During the drought, a number of businesses and organisations wouldn’t have survived without Whitehaven’s support and this is just another example of them stepping up when the community needs them,” said Mr Stewart.

“It’s a win all round – Whitehaven is keeping money in the community and encouraging more people to get vaccinated all at the same time.”

Paul O’Donnell, acting President of Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce, said the initiative was a great way to reward the workforce and support local business.

“It is great to see Whitehaven’s ongoing commitment to supporting businesses in and around Gunnedah. This initiative will be especially welcomed in the lead-up to Christmas, giving our local economy a boost after a long year for many local businesses.”

Whitehaven’s COVID-19 Vaccination Reward Program will continue into 2022, ensuring local businesses will continue to benefit from the additional injection of cash into the new year.

Pictured: Bernard Etheridge, owner of Mornington Butchery in Gunnedah.

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