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Labor has queried the rumoured appointment of a "solid Barnaby Joyce supporter" to a key federal government agency role.
Asked in parliament on Tuesday if he could confirm retiring Tamworth mayor Col Murray had been made Infrastructure Australia's new chair, the deputy prime minister did not deny the decision had been made and not yet announced.
"I'm sorry ... what is wrong with the mayor, the former mayor of Tamworth?" Mr Joyce said.
"Does he not have quite enough letters after his name to be considered worthy by the Labor Party?
"A person who has been in the construction industry for 25 years, a person who is one of the leading mayors of New South Wales, a person who's underpinned the growth of one of our great regional cities."
Labor MP Catherine King noted Mr Murray had previously described himself as a "fairly solid Barnaby supporter".
Mr Murray, who has been Tamworth mayor for 11 years, will remain in that position until council elections are held on December 4.
Comment is being sought from Mr Murray.