Family First senator Steve Fielding has criticised the federal government for lack of action in the case of Melbourne backpacker Britt Lapthorne who is missing in Croatia.

Senator Fielding met privately with Britt’s father Dale and brother Darren in Croatia while on a parliamentary delegation there last week.

If the government wanted to really “do everything it can” to help the family it should find a lawyer who understood Croatian law, Senator Fielding said.

“This family is desperate and I’m at a loss to understand why Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, after promising to do everything they can to help this grieving family, have not offered them the very help they need.

“Dale Lapthorne told me the system was bewildering and that they were struggling to get answers from the authorities.

“They need a lawyer who knows the system and can hold those in the system to account as the search for Britt continues.

“The Australian government should muster its resources to hire a Croatian lawyer to provide some core aid to this family.”

Senator Fielding supported opposition calls for more Australian Federal Police to help in the search for the missing 21-year-old.

Senator John Hogg led a seven-member Australian parliamentary delegation that was in Croatia around the time of Britt’s disappearance and met with the country’s governmental ministers.

Lapthorne has been missing since the early hours of September 18 when she was last seen in a Dubrovnik nightclub.