Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali faces an uphill battle in his quest for bipartisan solutions should he be elected to state parliament.
The Blacktown candidate should retain the safe Labor seat in the October 14 by-election, at which point he would represent Blacktown at two levels of government for up to two years.
Cr Bali told the Sun this would put him in a unique position to transform Blacktown.
But Baulkham Hills MP David Elliott has accused the mayor of abandoning ratepayers.
In a statement with some remarks later echoed in state parliament, Mr Elliott claimed Cr Bali was “ignoring Blacktown ratepayers” while “spruiking his anti-growth message” in Holroyd and Castle Hill.
Mr Elliott said the mayor’s ratepayer-funded trip to South Korea was a “victory lap” and a waste of money after Premier Gladys Berejiklian visited the same country just weeks earlier.
“This is simple [sic] a way for Stephen Bali to get his snout in the trough...before he heads off for greener pastures,” he said.
Cr Bali responded by claiming the premier never made him aware of her plans despite his dealings with the state government while planning the $45,000 trip.
The mayor said his trip with Blacktown business leaders was part of a new approach to the sister-city relationship, which could be worth millions through deals involving manufacturing, education, sport and tourism.
“We’ve moved away from the model of just simply doing social and cultural exchanges. This was to generate jobs, opportunities and selling products into Asia. That was our goal and it’s been achieved,” Cr Bali said.
“If David Elliott is so small-minded that he just wants to attack a person politically or personally, well that’s his prerogative. If you can point me out two things he’s done while he’s been state MP that’s supported his local constituents, I’ll be very surprised.”
Despite his frequent criticisms of the Liberal government, Cr Bali said he was confident of delivering outcomes for Blacktown from opposition through discussions away from the “bear pit” of parliament.
“It’s a unique opportunity right now as we’re transforming Blacktown,” he said.
“I’m hoping that we actually move to a way of working together, as we do on Blacktown Council with Labor and Liberal councillors, to achieve the best outcomes.”