Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud has not reached out to his Chinese counterpart since August, and says it’s up to WA barley growers to diversify into new markets rather than expect emergency relief support. China slapped tariffs on Australian barley in May, claiming it was being sold too cheaply and being “dumped” into the Chinese market. It also alleged farmers were being subsidised by government to grow their crops. Mr Littleproud said he had made two attempts to “engage” with his Chinese counterpart but had not been successful. “We continue to try restart dialogue, not just with specific industries but more broadly,” he said at the National Rural Press Club. “(I last reached out) at the end of August ... to my counterpart but he was unavailable.” The barley industry has been crying out for Federal Government support since the tariff was introduced, pleading for a $20 million emergency relief package to be included in the Budget. However, the Government did not unveil any support in Tuesday night’s Budget and Mr Littleproud said the market had not been hit so hard that “we will see farmers go under”. “There is a hit and we appreciate that,” he said. “Our job is to give opportunity for farmers to go into different markets and we’ve done that. About a week after the Chinese imposed tariffs on our barley we were able to secure better access for our barley growers in India “We’ve opened up all these markets. It’s now up to the business to make that determination, not the Australian Government and not the Australian taxpayer.” But shadow agriculture minister Joel Fitzgibbon said the barley industry had been a “victim of poor Government behaviour with China”, and was entitled to financial support. “We are in an economic war with China,” Mr Fitzgibbon said. “The Australia-China relationship has fallen to a point never seen since Tiananmen Square, probably worse. “There is no sign that the Australian Government is taking this seriously or taking any steps to repair the damage done by it.” In the months following the imposition of a tariff on Australian barley, China has moved to ban beef from select Australian abattoirs and launched an anti-dumping investigation into Australian wine. Its Education Ministry has also issued an alert warning Chinese students face discrimination and racism should they choose to return to study in Australia.