GIFT cards are helping to get residents spending their money in Bathurst.
With the NSW drought putting financial pressure on both producers and businesses, Bathurst Regional Council launched a number of initiatives to stimulate spending.
Council pushed gift cards more with the introduction of the Drought Buster Card, an extension of the existing Buy Local Gift Card program.
The Drought Buster Card operated identically to the Buy Local card, however purchasing this version allowed the person to enter a weekly prize draw and be eligible for a major prize.
Marketing was also stepped up for the Buy Local card, with residents reminded of the importance of shopping locally.
There are 135 local businesses attached to the gift card program, with around 10 able to load the cards.
While money loaded on the cards can be spent at a variety of retail stores, they are also accepted at some restaurants, health and beauty businesses, supermarkets, newsagents and cultural facilities.
To date, more than $390,000 has been spent in Bathurst through the gift card program.
There was also an increase in the number of cards purchased in the lead up to Christmas last year, with 450 cards purchased and $30,790 loaded in December.
In addition to the gift cards, council has also continued to support businesses through its active role in the development of the Upstairs start-up hub.
Director of Environmental Planning and Building Services, Neil Southorn, said council is involved in the promotion and growth of the concept.
"Due to the effort of council and its partners, Upstairs now supports 18 start-up businesses that are already starting to employ staff and contribute directly to the Bathurst economy," he said.
In recent years, council has had a strained relationship with the Bathurst Business Chamber.
However, the two now have a better working relationship, seeing the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) in December.
The MOU is expected to help council strengthen its engagement with the business community.
"Additionally, council commenced plans to develop multiple new industry cluster groups that will facilitate collaboration between local businesses," Mr Southorn said.