CUTS to the coronavirus supplement could rip thousands of dollars and hundreds of jobs out of the region's economy, with Central Goldfields among the 10 Australian local government areas likely to suffer most.
That is, according to modelling by Deloitte Access Economics, released by the Australian Council of Social Service.
The modelling forms part of an 89-page report estimating the economic impacts of lowering levels of income support payments.
September 25 was the first day of the reduced coronavirus supplement, with recipients getting $300 less per fortnight than when the payment was introduced.
The federal government plans to retain the $250 fortnightly supplement until December 31.
It has yet to announce what will happen after then, though Prime Minister Scott Morrison in July said the government had "no intention of... going back to the original JobSeeker base payment".
Reducing, then removing, the coronavirus supplement would strip $31.3 billion from the Australian economy over the course of two financial years, according to Deloitte.
An average of 145,000 full time jobs were likely to be lost during that period, with most of the damage likely to take place in 2021-22.
Central Goldfields was listed alongside some of the most remote local government areas in Australia, when it came to modelling localised impacts and the communities that would be hardest hit.
The municipality was predicted to lose close to 400 jobs in a year if income support was reduced, as recipients struggled to afford goods and services.
Spending was predicted to drop by $4767 per person, on average, by the end of 2021-22. The local government area's economic output was estimated to drop by more than $3800 per person.
The government is focused on responding to the situation as it unfolds and as we have always said, we would review the Coronavirus Supplement later in the year.A spokesperson for deputy prime minister Michael McCormack
Reducing, then removing, the coronavirus supplement would slash more than 2450 jobs from the Bendigo economy.
Consumption would drop by $3312 per person by the end of 2021-22, and the city's output was predicted to drop by $2644 per person.
Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said the government needed to park its ideology and focus on the children of these households.
She believed whether or not the coronavirus supplement was likely to be further extended - or JobSeeker was going to be adjusted after December - should be part of next week's federal budget.
"Come clean, tell us what it is so people can plan," Ms Chesters said.
"Let's also get the legislation through parliament so we can lock it in."
She said waiting until December to take action would give both the parliament and the people little time to consider any changes.
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A spokesperson for Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack said the government had always said it would review the coronavirus supplement later in the year.
"The government has already announced unprecedented support through more than $300 billion in emergency response measures," the spokesperson said.
"Any suggestion that the government is reducing spending is simply not correct.
"The government has to carefully balance that unprecedented support with appropriate incentives to help people re-engage with the workforce as jobs continue to come back as the economy re-opens."
The spokesperson quoted one of Mr McCormack's recent press conferences, at which the deputy prime minister said: "The best form of welfare is a job."
"If you don't have a job and there's somebody offering you a job and offering you good pay and good conditions, then pitch in. Have a go."
The spokesperson reiterated the government's commitment to ensuring all of Australia bounced back from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We will continue to invest in job-creating infrastructure, business support and other initiatives to help people get back to work sooner," they said.
Australian Council of Social Service chief executive Cassandra Goldie called on the government to move quickly to legislate a permanent, adequate JobSeeker rate.
"The doubling of Newstart at the start of the pandemic came as a huge relief," Ms Goldie said.
"After 26 years without a real increase to Newstart, people without paid work were finally able to afford the basics.
"But they now face a deeply uncertain future, with these devastating cuts to their already tight budgets and 28 people receiving JobSeeker for every job vacancy in regional areas."
The Member for Mallee's office was contacted for comment.