Wagga's target of a 100,000 population by 2038 could still be feasible, despite predictions of the lowest national population growth in a century.
Speaking at a parliamentary inquiry last week, Treasury's Centre for Population principal adviser Merrick Peisley said Australia's population was set to grow by just 0.6 per cent in 2020-2021 amid a significant drop in net overseas migration, the lowest growth rate in over 100 years.
Mr Peisley said regions reliant on overseas migration were likely to be the "hardest hit" population-wise as a result of closed borders.
The Riverina is one of few regions across the country that can attribute over 50 per cent of its population growth from 1996 to 2016 to overseas migration.
Committee4Wagga chief executive officer Alan Johnston said overseas migration had a large direct and indirect role to play in Wagga's population growth as migrants came to the city from overseas or through the capitals.
While he said there was little anyone could do to change the reality of lower overseas migration in the short term, the coronavirus pandemic could see Wagga attract more people in the long term.
"Globally migration is going to have its ups and downs ... I think what we can do is continue to make regions such as the Wagga LGA more attractive for when the international borders do open," he said.
"Whilst there's no immigration now there could be a significant increase once the global circumstance allows."
The lack of overseas arrivals is already taking its toll on some industries, according to RDA Riverina CEO Rachel Whiting.
The RDA has been following the impact of the pandemic on seasonal agricultural industries relying on backpackers, other overseas workers and skilled migrants who are finding it harder to fill positions as the pandemic continues.
"The early indication is our different agricultural communities are far more concerned this time around about having a workforce to do that harvest," Ms Whiting said.
While there were many short term concerns around seasonal and skilled workers in the Riverina, Ms Whiting said there was a pilot program being developed to attract refugees who were already in Australia to the Riverina.
"We're working closely with Multicultural NSW and other groups within the Riverina to see if there are opportunities for refugees that are already settled in Western Sydney to move to the region, but of course at the moment that's been delayed," she said.
Ms Whiting said initiatives like Country Change were also hoping to capitalise on a desire from people across Australia to move regionally following the pandemic.
"We think migration is a really important part of the puzzle and we will continue to advocate for its importance in the Riverina region, but we want anyone to come who thinks they could make a life in the Riverina," she said.