‘Great idea’: Dutton backs vaccine lottery

Giving vaccinated Australians the chance to win a huge jackpot is a “great idea” which would boost the national rollout, Peter Dutton says.

Tabcorp has pledged to run a national lottery for people immunised against Covid-19, provided it received legal approval and it was not expected to cover the cost, The Courier Mail revealed.

Incentives have been used across the globe to increase vaccination rates, including lotteries held in Cambodia and Russia and across various US states.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton on Friday flagged his support for a national jackpot draw or “anything” that incentivised vaccination.

“I’m in favour of the lottery; I think it’s a great idea,” he told Today.

“The only two flaws which the company has identified is they need regulation approval and someone to pay for it. So apart from that, it seems like a sound proposal.”

The private sector has been eager to kickstart Australia’s sluggish national rollout in a bid to ease the threat of crippling economic lockdowns.

And with just over 12 per cent of the eligible population vaccinated, the federal government has been looking for creative ways to boost vaccination rates.

“If you’ve hesitated in getting a vaccination, please go back and see your doctor because the medical advice is clear, get vaccinated as quickly as possible,” Mr Dutton said.

Tabcorp’s Sue van der Merwe conceded there were “complex considerations” to work through, with permits to conduct a lottery required in NSW, South Australia, the Northern Territory, and the ACT.

US President Joe Biden backed beer manufacturer Anheuser-Busch’s pledge to give Americans free beer if 70 per cent of the population was at least partially vaccinated by July 4.

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But after the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) slapped down a Melbourne publican who offered a free beer to those who got vaccinated, Tabcorp would also seek to clarify its stance on incentives.

It comes after Treasurer Josh Frydenberg last week revealed several private companies had raised “very interesting and exciting” ideas to boost the national rollout.

They included frequents flyer points from major airliners and offers to host vaccination hubs on site.

“I think it is more than a snag at Bunnings that we are talking about as a potential opportunity for incentives,” Mr Frydenberg said.

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