Member for Calare Andrew Gee has brushed aside claims by the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party he has been a lazy local member while also defending his impending absence from Orange's candidates forum.
Mr Romano had issued a media statement on Wednesday calling Mr Gee a a "lazy, disinterested" MP.
Speaking in Canowindra on Thursday, Mr Gee, standing alongside Deputy Prime Minister and National Party leader Michael McCormack, refuted the tag as a "cheap and easy insult".
Asked for a response to any suggestion he had been difficult to contact since his election to the federal seat in 2016, Mr Gee said he believed he has been "out there working hard".
"I've been at just about every community event I could be at. I've done my best to get around the electorate, I don't think anyone could criticise me for that," he said.
That's a very cheap and easy insult to make that is not in accordance with the facts. I can't work any harder.Member for Calare Andrew Gee
"I've been at just about every country show, every community event, I've been there when the community has needed me.
"That's a very cheap and easy insult to make that is not in accordance with the facts. I can't work any harder."
His comments came in the wake of Mr Romano's attack, which revolved around the prevalence of suicide in regional areas.
"Recently, Central West Lifeline CEO Stephanie Robinson pointed out the biggest suicide rate increases in Australia have been in urban-regional areas like Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo," Mr Romano said.
"Young people are most at risk, yet there are hardly any services.
"Almost every family I know has been touched by the suicide of a relative or close friend. The biggest tragedy is this government doesn't give a damn."
Mr Romano lay the blame squarely at the feet of Mr Gee.
"We need someone who can fight for these services in the bush, who will bang on the Prime Minister's door and demand funding," Mr Romano said.
"But Andrew Gee doesn't care. He is just killing time until he collects a big pension payment. He is lazy, plain and simple."
Mr Gee said his decision not to attend Thursday night's forum in Orange came down to a lack of notice.
"We only got an email last Tuesday about the privately-organised ones, we got the email in the afternoon and by the morning the dates were set," he said.
"I think if you want to organise [a forum] as a private individual you really do need to give the candidates a good deal of notice so that they can actually organise their diaries and get there."
"I'm not able to get to that one [the Orange forum], because of a previous commitment, but obviously I would like to get there," he said of the Orange forum.
For anybody to suggest that Andrew Gee does not work hard, quite frankly they've got their head in the sand.Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack
Mr Gee described the campaign of Shooters candidate Mr Romano as "empty".
"They're not offering anything for the electorate," Mr Gee said.
"They're not offering any policies and it's just nastiness, basically. They should be doing better than that if they want to be elected representatives.
"The local candidate was thinking of running six months ago but it is only in the last few days that you're actually getting any talk on policy.
Mr McCormack said he made Mr Gee his assistant minister because of his work ethic.
"He gets in and has a real go and is always making sure the interests of the people of the Central West, the people of Calare, are fiercely represented," he said.
"For anybody to suggest that Andrew Gee does not work hard, quite frankly they've got their head in the sand."
Mr McCormack added that he was not expecting a swing against the National Party similar to that experienced in the recent state election.
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