The ACT government scheme to employ Canberrans out of work due to COVID-19 will be further expanded.
The Jobs for Canberrans program has temporarily employed almost 500 people who lost their job due to the pandemic or were ineligible for Jobkeeper payments, with a further $500,000 to be injected into the scheme.
The funds will see 18 new workers join Access Canberra answering calls to the COVID-19 helpline, in the hope to reduce waiting times.
There are now 35 short-term workers employed through the scheme.
Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said 72,000 calls were made to the helpline in July compared to about 47,000 to Access Canberra call lines in the same period last year.
"Access Canberra has played such a critical role for our community during COVID-19 and I'm pleased that the Jobs for Canberrans recruits have contributed so significantly," he said.
"In May, Access Canberra welcomed an extra 17 people into their team through the Jobs for Canberrans Fund.
"These people were quickly trained to help answer the calls of our community, process licences and registrations and help with many other administrative tasks on a daily basis."
Archish Viswanath was among those recruits, after he lost his job as a business analyst for a new start-up at the height of the pandemic.
"It was a bit crazy, because COVID was peak at that time and I didn't [have] any kind of income support," he said.
"Unfortunately, I am not eligible for any government benefits because I am a not citizen."
A plea for help in the form of a message to Mr Barr's Linkedin account led Mr Viswanath to apply for the role he started in May.
"Initially we had a three-month contract from May to August, and then that got extended for another three months until November," he said.
"I hope it extends further but I think it will because looking at the current call volumes, [they] are increasing and the COVID calls are increasing."
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said he wold look to extending the program beyond June 2021 if demand for jobs remained.
"We don't know where we'll be in the pandemic at that point but I think it has demonstrated its worth to the community," he said.
"We will also look at the scope of the program, there might be different needs in 10 months' time."