LABOR member for Eden-Monaro Mike Kelly has labelled Queanbeyan City Council as the least cooperative in his electorate as his pre-election spat with Queanbeyan mayor Tim Overall heats up.
It comes as both Dr Kelly and his Liberal rival Peter Hendy opened the campaign purse strings this week, with over $12 million in funding pledged by both candidates in the second last week of the campaign.
But the emergence of Cr Tim Overall on the campaign trail this week increased tension between the two sides. Mr Overall flanked Peter Hendy at two Liberal announcements in Queanbeyan this week, and also committed a further $600,000 in Council funding to Mr Hendy's pledge of $500,000 for a Seiffert Oval upgrade.
When asked if he was making a political statement by appearing with Peter Hendy, Mr Overall said "not at all. I'm just welcoming this funding.
"As an independent mayor I was elected on an independent platform and I hold very fiercely to that," he said.
However he said Dr Kelly's funding priorities didn't match what Queanbeyan residents wanted.
"The reality is Mike Kelly hasn't engaged with Council to the extent he might have in regard to our [council's] priorities."
"He has his own roads priorities and other priorities and he tends to internalise those within his own political sphere," Cr Overall said.
That prompted Mike Kelly to fire back, slamming Queanbeyan Council as the least cooperative in his electorate.
"We saw it in the last campaign as well; Tim Overall has a lot of friends on the Liberal side of politics," Dr Kelly said.
"In his last election campaign he had Peter Hendy, David Gazard, Gary Nairn, Giulia Jones - the whole Liberal establishment handing out (how to vote cards) for him.
"But I'm always open to work with anybody of whatever political flavour. I've got seven councils in my electorate and I'm always working closely with mayors and general managers on projects ... and I'd love to work with this Council more closely and effectively."
This week also saw both candidates escalate their campaign funding promises.
Despite constant challenges from his Labor opponent, Peter Hendy was yet to promise a cent in funding for Eden-Monaro until Monday morning, when he came out with a promise of $180,000 to rejuvenate the Queanbeyan River.
He then upped that significantly on Tuesday, matching Dr Kelly's $10 million commitment to developing the port of Eden.
Meanwhile Dr Kelly announced $1.49 million in funding on Monday to upgrade the Moruya airport, and both candidates promised cash for Queanbeyan sports grounds on Wednesday, with Dr Kelly committing $363,000 to Dairy Farmers Park and Mr Hendy $500,000 to Seiffert Oval (see coverage, page 2).
Labor has also increased its campaigning in Eden-Monaro over the last week with new negative television ads aimed at Mr Hendy. The ads point to forecast Coalition cuts to the public service, with the tag line 'If Tony Abbott and Peter Hendy win, you lose.'