The federal government's $17 billion economic stimulus could offer Wagga retailers a boost as pensioners and unemployed people plan to spend instead of save their $750 bonus payments.
The stimulus was aimed to help the economy fight off a downturn from the global coronavirus pandemic.
Wagga pensioners told The Daily Advertiser that they would now make larger purchases they had otherwise put off.
Dawn McDermott said she would spend part of her stimulus at the supermarket and some on new shoes and clothes.
"I would go out and spend it because when you live on a pension you live on a very tight budget," she said.
"I'd probably spend a bit more on groceries and food. I'd go out for dinner which I don't normally do. I'm pretty sure the shops will see more pensioners coming in."
Wagga pensioner Alan Kennedy also said he would buy new shoes and pay bills.
The stimulus should pump about $15 million into the city's economy over the next six weeks based on the 19,900 people receiving welfare payments, pension or family tax benefits within the Wagga City Council area.
St Vincent's Wagga Central Council president Peter Burgess said he could understand why the government had decided to make the stimulus payments to people on the aged pension and Newstart.
"They tend to live payment to payment, so if they have got extra money they will spend it," he said.
"It's targeted that way in order to get people to spend it, and I think it will be quite effective at getting people to spend in Wagga."
Mr Burgess said the St Vincent de Paul Society had been campaigning for the past year to lift Newstart by $95 per fortnight.
"We would continue to argue that and I think it would have been better to have raised Newstart before an international crisis," he said.
Mr Burgess said the society was planning how to provide services if it had to temporarily close its Wagga office.
The government will offer Newstart payments to casual workers who are forced to quarantine themselves.
Mr Burgess said some Wagga residents on casual employment might need help from Vinnies.
"If you are bringing home $500 a week and that is suddenly halved, that is going to cause an enormous amount of hardship," he said.
Riverina MP Michael McCormack said the stimulus package included a $1 billion fund to "keep rural and regional businesses open and people in jobs during the coronavirus crisis".
"Tourism, agriculture and education are three important pillars of the Riverina and Central West economy and we need to back them all the way," he said.