The JobKeeper wage subsidy is paying more than $2 million in wages every fortnight in the Moree Plains Shire, new statistics reveal.
A total of 419 businesses in the Moree Plains Shire applied for the Commonwealth government's JobKeeper program, with an estimated 1592 local workers receiving the $1500 wage subsidy every fortnight.
It's estimated that these payments are putting $2,388,000 back into the local economy, according to the statistics, which are from the Commonwealth Treasury.
NSW Labor Senator Tim Ayres has used the figures to criticise the federal government's plan to cut the wage subside in September.
"This data shows that cutting JobKeeper payments too early could have devastating consequences for workers, businesses and communities in Moree," he said.
"The Morrison government is still planning to withdraw this payment at the end of September, putting thousands of local jobs at risk.
"The people of Moree desperately need an effective, well executed response to this crisis, to bolster the recovery and set Australia up for the future."
ABS statistics in June revealed the region was facing the third-worst downturn in the state, showing the New England North West had shed 11,700 jobs as a result of the pandemic.
A survey recently conducted by Business NSW, showed two in five businesses say they would be closed without JobKeeper.
Business NSW regional manager Joe Townsend said the survey confirms the government needs to think very carefully about how it winds back the scheme.
"Business NSW has been saying for some time that September was going to be the month where the true impacts of the epidemic hit home, with JobKeeper set to end and a number of deferral measures the banks initiated at the start of the pandemic also due to expire," he said said.
Mr Townsend said Business NSW was supportive of more "targeted and tapered" support after September, especially for those dependent on international tourists.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said the JobKeeper payment has made a "massive difference" to thousands of businesses in his electorate.
"I've spoken to many businesses who've said they would not be able to keep going without it," he said.
Mr Coulton said the government will review the JobKeeper scheme closer to September, but at this stage he doesn't believe it would be practical to continue it longer than it needs to be.
"There will be a decision made closer to the date, but ultimately, it was designed to get through the worst of it and keep people connected to their workplace," he said.
"As people return to work, a blanket JobKeeper payment I don't think would be practical.
"We need to have incentives for businesses to get up and running again, but if the government is paying their wages, there's not a lot of incentive to get back up."
Mr Coulton said there's also a double issue in places like Moree, which is facing a shortage of harvest labour without the high number of overseas workers we would usually have to help with harvest.
"It doesn't make sense to pay people not to go to work when we've got a massive shortage," he said.
"GrainCorp for example have got 3000 jobs available."
At this stage, Mr Coulton believes it's "a little premature and foolhardy" to call for the payment to be extended.
"We may need to put our resources into other areas, depending on what happens with COVID," he said.
"It's costing the government lots of money. The Australian people are paying for this and we're going to be paying for this for a long, long time. We want to spend appropriately, but we don't want to spend more than we have to."