A Victorian federal member is calling on the government to maintain JobSeeker payments while Victorians remain in COVID-19 lockdown, at the very least.
It comes as the government faces questions about its plans to continue the scheme, but with reduced payments from September 25.
Regional Victorians would have been living with stage three restrictions for more than six weeks, by that point.
While the state's COVID-19 statistics were cause for hope, Premier Daniel Andrews said it was too soon to talk about easing restrictions.
Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said it would still be difficult for people to find work on September 25.
The government planned to reduce JobSeeker payments by $300 a fortnight.
Even if restrictions had eased, Ms Chesters said businesses would still be in the process of reopening.
"The availability of work will be hard to come by," she said.
The government planned to make the reduced coronavirus supplement of $250 a fortnight available to JobSeeker recipients until December 31.
Recipients were then expected to live off the base rate of $40 a day.
Ms Chesters said the prospect of returning to the base rate was making JobSeeker recipients in Bendigo anxious.
More than 10,000 Bendigo residents received JobSeeker payments.
"When the government introduced the coronavirus supplement in April, it was an admission that the base rate of JobSeeker payment was too low," Ms Chesters said.
She said the government needed to lock in a much higher base rate.
Parliament resumed in Canberra yesterday, with the government's plans for JobSeeker and JobKeeper among the key talking points.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and treasurer Josh Frydenberg were among those who defended the government's COVID-19 response during question time.
Mr Frydenberg said hundreds of thousands of new jobs had been created in the past two months, with particularly strong growth in New South Wales.
About 700,000 people who initially lost jobs were re-engaging in the workforce.
"There is a light at the end of the tunnel," the treasurer said.
While acknowledging the road to recovery would be long and bumpy, Mr Frydenberg said: "The plan is there and the plan is working."
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack earlier told ABC News Breakfast "the best form of welfare is a job". He had been asked about the government's plans to reduce JobSeeker to a base rate of $40 a day.
"I appreciate that many, many people have lost their jobs," the deputy prime minister said.
But he, too, said 700,000 people who initially lost their jobs had re-engaged with the workforce.
Mr McCormack said the government wanted to see people take on jobs where they were available.
"There are jobs in regional Australia," he said.
"What we do need is people being able to perhaps move to a regional area."
Mr McCormack said some areas were crying out for chefs and for people to do all sorts of work.
"There are many, many jobs in agriculture, in the resource sector," he said.
"If COVID-19 has taught us one thing, you can live in regional Australia and... you might as well be in a boardroom in Sydney for the connectivity, being able to Zoom into meetings.
"Regional Australia has led the way as far as the relief and recovery efforts are concerned because mining and resources and agriculture and construction has continued at a pace through the situation, through the downturn and there are many, many jobs in regional Australia."
Ms Chesters said people who had lost work as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic might not have the mix of skills some employers in regional areas were seeking to fill shortages, like welding.
"It's also not a jobs plan, this sort of throwaway language of the government, 'the best form of welfare is a job'," she said.
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Liberal Senator for Victoria, Sarah Henderson said the people of Bendigo were tiring of Ms Chesters' "campaign of negativity".
"The Morrison government is continuing to provide unprecedented economic support to the Bendigo community throughout the pandemic," Ms Henderson said.
"This includes not just JobKeeper and JobSeeker but other vital support such as a 50 per cent increase over two years in emergency relief funding."