Goulburn council general manager praises energy minister, Hume MP Angus Taylor

Goulburn Mulwaree Mayor Bob Kirk says the council isn't taking sides, despite Liberal MP Angus Taylor using praise from a council executive in his election material.

The energy minister used the comments to promote his local connections, drawing criticism from Mr Taylor's Labor opponent for the seat.

Energy Minister Angus Taylor addresses the media during a doorstop interview in the press gallery at Parliament House in Canberra in March 2019. Picture: Alex Ellinghausen

Energy Minister Angus Taylor addresses the media during a doorstop interview in the press gallery at Parliament House in Canberra in March 2019. Picture: Alex Ellinghausen

The council's general manager, Warwick Bennett, who is not an elected official, is quoted on election material circulated in Mr Taylor's federal seat of Hume, saying it was "a real pleasure to work alongside Angus".

But Mr Bennett denies the comments are a political endorsement, and were given "as a statement of fact".

"As an experienced local government general manager I do not endorse any political candidates but make statements of fact," Mr Bennett said.

Goulburn Mulwaree mayor Bob Kirk sought to distance the council from the comments, and said he had "no idea" where the quote had come from when contacted by The Canberra Times. Mr Kirk said the council wasn't taking sides in the election.

"We don't want to be dragged into this," Mr Kirk said.

The Labor candidate for Hume, Aoife Champion, criticised Mr Bennett's endorsement on Twitter on Sunday.

"GM of Goulburn Mulwaree Council endorsing Angus? Yeh, who even cares about the appearance of impartiality any more," Ms Champion said.

Ms Champion told The Canberra Times that she considered Mr Bennett's comments were "inappropriate".

"The people of Goulburn should expect their public servants to stay apolitical, and Angus Taylor should apologise for exploiting these remarks, which are not endorsed by the council," Ms Champion said.

A spokeswoman for Mr Taylor said he worked closely with the council.

"We reject any suggestion of impropriety in reference to the statement from Mr Bennett," the spokeswoman said.

The pamphlet also quoted Mr Bennett saying Mr Taylor, "being a local", had a "strong connection with us all".

We don't want to be dragged into this,

Goulburn Mulwaree Mayor Bob Kirk

"He has worked with and supported council in a truly positive way that has benefited this community tremendously," the quote reads.

Mr Kirk said the comments on Mr Taylor were a "fair assessment" but had contacted Mr Taylor's office to find out where the quote had come from and said the council was not taking sides.

"Irrespective of who becomes our member, we have to work with them and we've become very conscious of that," Mr Kirk said.

A spokesman for Goulburn Mulwaree council said it did not have a policy on employees providing political endorsements.

Mr Kirk said Mr Bennett was "well aware of the sensitivities in being seen to take sides in elections".

Hume is a traditionally Liberal-voting seat, held by Mr Taylor since 2013. He won it by 10.2 per cent at the last election in 2016.