NATIONALS senator Bridget McKenzie has responded to criticism from Cathy McGowan by claiming the Indi MP was being self-obsessed.
The independent was irked she was not told of recipients of $3.4 million in Building Better Regions Funds until they were aired by Senator McKenzie on Monday.
Asked why Ms McGowan was not alerted to the grant beneficiaries beforehand and whether that would change with future funding announcements, the Regional Services Minister fired back at the independent.
"This is a Government funding commitment and it is appropriate that a minister made this important announcement on behalf of the government which will benefit the community," Senator McKenzie said.
"It is unfortunate that Cathy McGowan has made this issue about herself rather than highlighting the benefits that the BBRF brings to our local communities.
Fresh morning air in beautiful Harrietville, NE Vic with @Byatt4Indi and Alpine Shire Council to announce $1.3m Building Better Regions Funding to link the end of the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail at Bright with Victoria’s Alpine Region #lovetheregions#auspol#indivotespic.twitter.com/KsabIRYKvD— Senator Bridget McKenzie (@senbmckenzie) March 3, 2019
"I am sure that Cathy shares my strong view that regional communities deserve their fair share."
Senator McKenzie does not expect a probe by the audit office to find anything amiss with the Commonwealth's funding method.
"The government’s process for deciding BBRF grants has remained the same for all rounds, and I am confident there is no issue for the ANAO," she said.
Reacting to Ms McGowan concerns about grants "being used for party political purposes", Senator McKenzie said: "People in the regions pay tax, a government’s job is to deliver and that is what the BBRF announcements have done this week in Indi."
Liberal election candidate for Indi Steve Martin joined his Nationals rival Mark Byatt at some of the funding announcements on Monday.
Asked whether he thought it was appropriate Ms McGowan was not informed, Mr Martin said "that's not my expertise, I'm not sure what the procedure is".