The Commonwealth's JobKeeper wage subsidy is paying $30 million in wages every fortnight in the New England, new statistics reveal.
Some 19,780 local residents are essentially working for the government, with nearly one-fifth of the electorate of New England receiving the $1500 wage subsidy twice a month.
The statistics, which are based on Parliamentary Library analysis of Commonwealth Treasury data, were shared with the Labor Party in response to a question asked by the Senate COVID-19 committee.
Senator Tim Ayres used the figures to condemn New England MP Barnaby Joyce's stance that the scheme should be wound up as quickly as possible out of "fear of debt".
"This data shows that cutting JobKeeper payments too early could have devastating consequences for workers, businesses and communities in New England," Senator Ayressaid.
The Federal wage subsidy is currently scheduled to be switched off at the end of September.
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.
JobKeeper figures released at the same time showed 806 Armidale businesses were receiving the support.
The new statistics released last week show there are 3063 people in Armidale, 5791 in Tamworth and 1208 people in Glen Innes receiving the wage supplement.
Slightly more than 17 per cent of the electorate of New England are on the scheme.
A survey recently conducted by Business NSW, showed two in five businesses say they would be closed without JobKeeper. Mr Townsend said the survey confirms the government needs to think very carefully about how it winds back the scheme.
A spokesperson for Mr Joyce pointed the Express to comments he made in May that the Commonwealth has a "moral responsibility" to the taxpayer to minimise government debt during the COVID-19 crisis.