Barnaby Joyce appointed his "mate", retiring Tamworth mayor Col Murray, to be the new chair of Infrastructure Australia, the Labor Party claimed in Parliament.
Labor Member for Ballarat Catherine King revealed the appointment during Question Time in Commonwealth parliament on Tuesday.
"The new chair will be the retiring mayor of Tamworth Col Murray, who has described himself as a fairly solid Barnaby supporter," she said.
Deputy Prime Minister Joyce, who is also responsible for the infrastructure portfolio, had made the appointment, but had yet to formally announce it, she said.
Ms King criticised Cr Murray's appointment, contrasting him with the first chair, former British Airways CEO and News Corporation director Sir Rod Eddington.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese told the parliament "he has appointed his mate" and questioned Cr Murray's "qualification" for the job.
Mr Joyce responded by attacking the Labor Party's "hypocrisy".
"What is wrong with the former mayor of Tamworth? Does he not have quite enough letters after his name to be considered worthy by the Labor party?" he said.
"A person who has been in the construction industry for 25 years, a person who's one of the leading mayors of NSW?
"A person who underpinned, underpinned, underpinned the growth of one of our great regional cities?"
He said the Labor Party doesn't believe in regional Australia "at a quantum level".
"We will stand behind honest people, you stand behind sneaky snobs," he said.
Established by the Rudd Labor government, Infrastructure Australia is an independent statutory body designed to improve the development of major projects by states and the federal government.
It provides advice to the Australian government about the merits of individual projects, and maintains an infrastructure priority list.
The current acting chair of Infrastructure Australia is Mark Balnaves.
Col Murray was contacted for comment.
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