Aviation enthusiast and entrepreneur Dick Smith has indicated he will financially support a potential independent challenger to Riverina MP Michael McCormack in the federal election.
Mr Smith's latest move represents an escalation in his long-running feud with Mr McCormack, who is also the federal transport minister, over aviation industry regulation.
Mr Smith told The Daily Advertiser that he had been approached by a group of "quite a few" people in the electorate who requested his support for an independent candidate and he "probably would" contribute.
"I see all of these flying schools being sold off to the Chinese, and I see a minister who never says anything," Mr Smith said.
In November, Mr Smith announced he would purchase billboards outside Wagga on the road to the airport denouncing Mr McCormack's handling of the Civil Aviation Act.
Mr Smith told The Daily Advertiser that he was "spending $12,000 per month" on the billboards and could repurpose them to support an independent Riverina candidate.
The Daily Advertiser was unable to locate any permanent or mobile billboards featuring Mr Smith's aviation campaign outside Wagga Airport or beside its highway access on Thursday.
Mr Smith, a former board chair of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, accused Mr McCormack on siding with "the bureaucracy" instead of honoring an agreement for legislative changes made with former transport minister Barnaby Joyce.
"The lie in the (Civil Aviation Act) is that the most important consideration is safety," Mr Smith said.
"That is only used against the weak. If you are Qantas or Virgin, quite often the most important consideration is cost.
"Wagga tower is not manned, there are no air traffic controllers there; it would be safer to have it manned but someone from the airlines would have said they didn't want to pay for that."
Mr McCormack said he had bipartisan support for changes to aviation legislation.
"I am pleased to have worked with the general aviation sector - including through a forum at Wagga - to introduce a Bill to Parliament to amend the Civil Aviation Act to take cost into account while prioritising safety for the travelling public," he said.
"I am also pleased this bill has bipartisan support and is before the Parliament. It comes after lengthy consultation through my advisory group, which is chaired by Dr Martin Laverty of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and has support throughout the aviation sector."