Last week in parliament was a missed opportunity for the Abbott government on drought, Labor leader Bill Shorten says.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has borrowed a government line to declare Labor’s support for assistance for drought-affected farmers.

“We are certainly open for business when it comes to assisting our farmers,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Adelaide on Sunday.

“Open for business” is a well-known line used by Prime Minister Tony Abbott in his September 2013 election victory speech.

Mr Shorten was speaking after Mr Abbott kicked off his two-day tour of drought-hit NSW and Queensland by visiting farmers in Bourke, as cabinet prepares to consider a drought assistance package.

The Labor leader accused the Abbott government of stalling on the issue of assistance last week, saying the parliamentary sitting week was a missed opportunity to provide farmers certainty of government support.

“I appreciate visiting farmers, that’s important, but we had a whole week last week in parliament where the Abbott government could have proposed measures to assist farmers. They didn’t,” Mr Shorten said.

He repeated that Labor was “open for business” to work with the government on drought.