Nearly 1500 jobs and $1.74 million in wages have been lost in Warrnambool in less than a month due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data reveals the south-west's employment numbers are the hardest-hit in Victoria and in the top ten worst-affected regions nationally.
Across the region more than 3300 jobs and a total of $4.32 million in wages were lost, with Warrnambool and Moyne Shire among the worst hit.
The ABS figures revealed Australia's highest jobless rate since September 2015.
The south-west saw an 8.6 per cent drop in payroll numbers between March 14 and April 18 while Victoria's numbers have slumped by 8.4 per cent.
The new data paints a long road to recovery post COVID-19.
In Warrnambool 1421 jobs have been estimated lost due to the pandemic, resulting in $1.74 million in wages lost.
In Moyne 712 jobs have been lost (18.86 per cent), accumulating to a $804,804 collective wage loss.
Southern Grampians has seen 276 jobs lost and $310,605 in wages, while Glenelg Shire reported 336 jobs lost, costing $408,516.
In Corangamite Shire, there were 572 jobs and more than $590,000 in wages lost in less than one month.
On Wednesday, Corangamite Shire Council pledged $180,000 to support small businesses in the wake of the coronavirus, with businesses able to apply for direct cash injections.
Warrnambool council chief executive Peter Schneider said it had engaged with businesses via direct contact or surveys.
Its COVID-19 response plan allows for people or business to apply for a rates deferral. It has also offered free parking in the CBD until June 30 and is running a 'think, support, spend local' campaign.
So far it has not offered any cash boosts or grants to businesses, but Mr Schneider said the next stage of support was "likely to include grant opportunities for businesses, further marketing and events initiatives, mentoring and business support workshop programs and mental health support".
"Council's draft 2020-2021 budget, now out for public comment, identifies the provision of significant resources ($1.951 million) to be focused on our recovery and stimulus efforts for the community and businesses."
The region's unemployment rate would have been even higher if not for the federal government spending some $320 billion in support measures during the crisis, including the JobKeeper and JobSeeker programs.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said some six million people were benefiting from the $1500 per fortnight JobKeeper wage subsidy which kept many people in a job even if they weren't working.
But, the prime minister has repeatedly emphasised that the scheme has been legislated for six months and would not be extended.
He has also stressed the $1100 per fortnight JobSeeker payment would revert to its former level of $40 per day.
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