Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe has restated his support for permanently increasing the rate of JobSeeker unemployment benefits.
JobSeeker coronavirus supplements worth $150 a fortnight are set to expire on March 31.
Unless the Morrison government intervenes, the JobSeeker rate will then fall back to as little as $40 a day.
Dr Lowe said the central bank had not modelled the economic consequence of stripping away pandemic payments.
"But I think there is a wide consensus in the community that the previous level (of JobSeeker payments) should be increased permanently," he told the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday.
"I've said on previous occasions that I would join that consensus."
Australian Council of Social Service chief executive Cassandra Goldie said the government did the right thing last year by doubling the old Newstart rate.
"The increased rate meant that people, including families, were able to afford their rent and still have enough left over for fresh fruit and vegetables, to visit the dentist or catch up on bills," Dr Goldie said.
Deloitte Access Economics has modelled a return to the old rate as costing the economy $31.3 billion and 145,000 full-time jobs over the next two years
Dr Lowe said cutting the JobSeeker rate would have some effect on spending but it was mostly an issue of fairness.
"As a society, what level of support do we want to provide people who don't have a job?" he said.
"Different people will legitimately have different views about the level of support. My own view is that some increase is justifiable."
ACOSS's Dr Goldie repeated calls for a permanent increase to the rate of JobSeeker, Youth Allowance and other income support payments of at least $25 a day more than the old Newstart rate.
JobSeeker was rebadged from Newstart in March 2020, and became the main support payment to Australians from 22 through to the aged pension.
"With only one job for every 9 people searching, the insecurity is wreaking havoc on people's mental health and leaving them to face the heart-breaking decision of whether they'll be able to afford to continue living in their home," Dr Goldie said.
Australian Associated Press