Hundreds of thousands of jobs could be lost if China suspends imports of various Australian products worth billions of dollars.
Chinese authorities are reportedly planning to halt imports of Australian wine, lobsters, sugar, coal, copper, barley and timber.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the trade strikes were deeply concerning and the government was working behind the scenes to resolve the situation.
But senior Australian ministers have been ignored by their Chinese counterparts for many months.
Deputy Opposition Leader Richard Marles described the diplomatic relationship as completely hopeless.
“It is no good to point over at China or indeed any other country and say it’s not our fault,” he told Nine on Friday.
“We’re seven years down the path of this government and there’s not a single personal relationship of substance that exists between anybody in this government and anyone in the Chinese government
“That is a situation which is completely hopeless.”
Mr Marles said Australian workers with jobs on the line were looking to the government for answers and action.
“There are obviously difficulties and complexities in the relationship with China, which is exactly why you need personal relationships to add balance to the situation,” he said.
“But right now, they can’t speak to a single person in China.”
Mr Dutton rejected the criticism as “the cheap talk of opposition”.
“The cheap seats in opposition can fire all these shots, but the reality is China is a sovereign state, it makes decisions,” he said.
“We will work with China and we want to make sure that those markets remain open, but in the end it is not a decision for the Australian government.”
Mr Dutton said the government wanted to work closely with China to resolve the trade disputes.
“Shouting out across the television screen at China is not going to work,” he said.
“We’ll work with them behind the scenes, and we’ll continue that discussion.”
Labor argues if any country, including China, unreasonably blocks Australian exports the government must call them out.