IT'S rare for Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall to ever mention Tamworth, except for the occasional tongue-in-cheek swipe.
But the MP has come out in support of a University of New England (UNE) campus in the Country Music Capital.
Armidale and Tamworth are often painted as rivals, but Mr Marshall said the proposed UNE's campus would help both cities.
"Having that campus in Tamworth is important to the ongoing viability of UNE in Armidale," Mr Marshall said.
"Tamworth is odd, in that it is the only inland city in the state that doesn't have a university or uni campus - and I suspect that won't be the case for much longer.
"UNE want a strong base in Tamworth, because it they don't, there will be another - Newcastle or Sydney university - that will set up there, in direct competition with UNE.
"It makes a lot of sense to try and corner the market. It is important to the whole region."
Mr Marshall said the Tamworth campus was "one of the rare examples where you'll find me championing something outside of my own electorate".
"Sometimes we get caught up in the rivalry - and I'm guilty of perpetuating it - between the northern and southern half of New England," he said.
"But the reality is, Tamworth and Armidale are 110 kilometres apart and it makes sense for UNE to have a strong presences there.
"If they don't, other universities will pounce and do significant damage to UNE's student base and its viability as a regional university."
The NSW government has committed $26.4 million to the campus. UNE is seeking a $10-million commitment from the federal government.
Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan recently wrote to New England MP Barnaby Joyce, stating the "government shares UNE's commitment to providing opportunities for region and remote students to attend university"; however gave no commitment to fund the project.