Throsby MP Stephen Jones has defended the success of a job fund created in the wake of BlueScope's mass axing of 800 employees in 2011.
Liberal Gilmore MP Joanna Gash this week labelled the Illawarra Region Innovation and Investment Fund "a dismal failure", saying Labor's attempts at stimulating jobs growth in the region had instead resulted in further job losses.
Her claims came as Mr Jones and fellow Illawarra MP Sharon Bird vowed to help the region secure a slice of a $1 billion federal government plan to boost jobs.
Mr Jones said the innovation and investment fund's purpose was to fast-track and foster investment in the region to stimulate the economy and assist businesses in relocating or expanding in the Illawarra.
"It has been successful in doing that," he said.
"If we wanted to have projects that were about digging holes in the side of the road we could have had hundreds of people employed on day one, but they wouldn't have been sustainable jobs.
"We've gone down a different path, which is about working with local enterprises to create sustainable investment for the future; that doesn't happen overnight."
Mr Jones said Mrs Gash's criticism of the federal government's latest jobs creation proposal, announced on the weekend, was merely "opposition for opposition's sake".
"What it shows is that Jo's a political opportunist who will support something when she thinks it's in her interest and will turn up and bag it when that's in her interest," he said.
The Illawarra Region Innovation and Investment Fund formed a key plank in the government response to help the region after BlueScope's decision to axe 800 employees at the Port Kembla steelworks in August 2011.
In November last year, seven months after it was launched, the program had created 66 of the 470 jobs promised before mid-2014.