Parkes MP Mark Coulton says it's "a little bit early" to decide on an extension of the JobKeeper scheme, in the face of calls for it to be paid beyond its September cut-off.
Dubbo businesses hard-hit by the coronavirus crisis have seized the lifeline of the $70 billion federal government measure that allows them to pay employees $1500 a fortnight.
More than 1400 organisations within the 2830 postcode have had their applications for the wage subsidy processed, Australian Taxation Office data published on Treasury's website reveals.
Mr Coulton reports speaking to businesses across his electorate, among them "some in Dubbo particularly", who said JobKeeper had "enabled them to survive".
But despite its end set to come within 90 days, the MP said it was a little bit early for a decision on extending the scheme.
Mr Coulton reported Treasury had recently completed a review of the program to "gauge its effectiveness and the need for continuation".
"I think when we get closer, there might be a reassessment, but basically the JobKeeper was done to get people through a period, and largely we're encouraging businesses, where possible to get back to work, and into normal activities where possible," Mr Coulton said.
"If JobKeeper was an open-ended thing, there wouldn't be the incentive for businesses to try to get back into normal operations.
"Now when we get to September, there will be an assessment done on where the real need is and another decision might be made, but that would be speculation, and at this stage I think it's useful for people to realise that this was a once-off stimulus and should be making arrangements around that."
When asked if a special case could be made for particular industries including tourism, accommodation and hospitality that remained impacted by COVID-19 measures, Mr Coulton said there was no doubt those sectors had "been the ones that suffered earlier on", but he expressed some optimism a turnaround was on the horizon.
"With international travel curtailed, we're seeing a lot of visitation coming out, and hopefully will see an increase in the hospitality sector combination tourism venues, but also cafes and clubs and pubs," he said.
"I was in Dubbo last week, and I had dinner in a hotel and it seemed to be running pretty well to where it was beforehand.
"But I do know, speaking with some businesses they have done it incredibly tough but I think it's still a few months away and probably a bit early to speculate yet."
Mr Coulton urged people to consider there was a "balance" to strike.
"I think we should understand the government has borrowed a lot of money to try and keep people connected to businesses, and more money into the JobSeeker program, which is formally known as Newstart," he said.
"And we're putting a lot of stimulus money into local councils, and other things, and so I think we've got to realise that on behalf of the Australian people we need to be careful we don't go that far into debt that future generations are going to pay for this for decades to come."