New England MP Barnaby Joyce has doubled down on his view to scale back the federal government's JobKeeper program despite one in five locals being paid by the scheme.
Mr Joyce has long held concerns regarding the potential debt the program could rack up for the government.
Now, the former deputy prime minister is pushing ahead with his calls to scale back the initiative, amid fears the country could slide further into debt.
"JobKeeper is an excellent program but it is all borrowed money," Mr Joyce said.
"You'd be really popular if you said we should have JobKeeper forever and that you'll fight for that.
"But you're also not being truthful because you have to pay the money back."
Mr Joyce's views come after various training sectors called on the federal government to offer more assistance as apprenticeship numbers creep closer to a 30 per cent drop.
New England training centre HVTC CEO Sharon Smith said without additional government support, more than 50,000 predominately young people could face unemployment.
"Our association and everybody else's as well, have been advocating the government provide some kind of wage support," she said.
"Our association has asked for $500-a-week from the government to help businesses keep apprentices employed.
"JobKeeper is really helping to keep a lot of businesses going and taking on new apprentices.
"If it does wrap up in September when it was originally scheduled to, our surveying suggests 18 per cent of the employers surveyed indicated they weren't sure they could continue with their current cohort of apprentices, let alone a new cohort next year."
Mr Joyce said he believed the program was likely to be scaled back, rather than brought to an end in September.
"I think there will be a step down," he said.
"However, I think it will a broad-brush approach to cover everyone because once you start saying who is going to get it and who is not, you're going to have an awful lot of people coming to your office and it will be the people who are not getting it."
The debate over JobKeeper comes after Prime Minister said last a "further phase" of income support would be available after the JobKeeper cut off in September.
The federal government has also unveiled plans to help kick-start the economy by launching a second round of $750 support payments.
Approximately five million Australians will receive the payments, which will be available to social security, veteran, eligible concession card holders and other income support recipients.