Joel Fitzgibbon has launched a scathing attack on former National Party leader Barnaby Joyce, describing his Regional Investment Corporation (RIC) as a "boondoogle and pork barrel" that had failed to deliver loans to drought affected farmers in a timely manner.
Mr Fitzgibbon was commenting on the back of an ABC report that showed farmers were waiting for between six and 12 months to learn the fate of their loan applications.
For the Federal Member for Cessnock and Shadow Agricultural Minister, it was too good an opportunity to miss, especially as so much of the country had suffered from the biting effect of drought.
"The RIC was always a Barnaby Joyce boondoggle and pork-barrel, which is why it was known as 'Barnaby's Bank'," Mr Fitzgibbon said.
"It was a political fix for the National Party to ward off the Shooters and Fishers Party, and One Nation, at the federal election.
"The RIC cost $28 million dollars to be established in Orange in 2018, a seat the state National Party lost in 2016, having previously held it for 69 years. "
Mr Fitzgibbon said Mr Joyce had previously blamed the states for loans not being delivered in a timely manner.
"Now David Littleproud is blaming the banks for loan application delays. Neither of them are fooling farmers who have are suffering through the drought."
Federal member for Lyne, David Gillespie defended the RIC scheme while acknowledging there were some issues still to be improved.
"The RIC Loans scheme is a fantastic initiative," Mr Gillespie said. "However I have expressed concerns to the current minister about issues surrounding eligibility and processing times.
"I am hopeful we can work through these issues to support our primary producers as Barnaby had intended."