Federal member for Bendigo, Lisa Chesters, has called on the federal government to raise Newstart allowances.
She say the current allowance is so low that people are being forced into poverty, which is preventing its recipients from gaining employment.
"To survive, many are being forced to rely on charity and welfare agencies just to feed themselves and their families," Ms Chesters said.
"I am calling on the Liberal National government to increase the Newstart rate to ensure that Australians can live in dignity whilst looking for work."
In Bendigo, there are 5,628 people on Newstart, while the average time spent on the payment is 156 weeks, with the highest cohort of those receiving Newstart across the Victoria is those aged 45 to 55.
Ms Chesters is now looking to gather community, welfare and faith based groups to help build a local campaign to raise the rate.
Jenny Elvey from Bendigo Family and Financial Services shared the same sentiment as Ms Chesters, saying many local recipients turn to them for assistance.
"Many clients receiving Newstart present to our agency for food assistance and financial counselling," said Ms Elvey.
"They struggle to keep a roof over their head."
Current recipients on Newstart receive a maximum payment of $555.70 a fortnight if they are sigle with no children, while those who are single and are aged over 60, or have a dependent child or children, receive $601.10 a fortnight at most.
Image via Lisa Chesters - Twitter.