JobSeeker rates will be slashed from tomorrow, as charities brace for a surge in demand.
The $550 fortnightly Coronavirus Supplement will reduce by $150 per week, with Bendigo's 9000 JobSeeker recipients set to lose more than $1.3 million each week.
Single people with no dependents will be left with about $815 a fortnight or $58 a day. The supplement will be scrapped beyond December 31.
Bendigo Foodshare chair Cathie Steele said the charity has been preparing for a reduction in government payments for months.
"We knew these cuts were coming and we know a lot more people will be needing support," Ms Steele said.
Bendigo Foodshare experienced a 40 per cent spike in demand amid the pandemic, as demand significantly outstripped supply.
"Our supply has been stretched and that means every family gets a little bit less," Ms Steele said.
Initiatives such as this weekend's Bendigo's Biggest Takeaway and the Bendigo Community Food Pantry, in collaboration with the City of Greater Bendigo and Salvation Army, help fundraise and increase stock levels.
"We are having difficulty sourcing enough food and getting enough food donated," Ms Steele said.
"Pantry staples, such as rice, tuna and cereals are an ongoing issue for us."
Salvation Army north west Victoria area officer Andrew Walker said the charity has experienced heightened demand from new clients since the outset of the pandemic.
"Demand has certainly shifted," Mr Walker said.
"We have seen a lot of new clients, people who normally wouldn't access our services.
"I think we will see an increase in demand from people because they may have become accustomed to living on a higher level of income and it becomes a challenge to life off less."
Bendigo MP Lisa Chesters is calling on the government to provide a comprehensive plan for jobs and economic recovery and said the JobSeeker cuts come at the worst time for all Victorians.
"Reducing this payment when the employment options are not available will hurt the most vulnerable in our community," Ms Chesters said.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said his October 6 federal budget would be squarely focused on getting people back to work.
"There will be no shortage of initiatives in the budget to help people to get off the JobSeeker payment and into a job," he said.