STATE Agriculture Minister Kim Chance said the Australian live export trade could only survive with a set of protocols like those of the Gulf Co-operation Council.
The GCC, which promotes stability and economic cooperation among Persian Gulf nations, was responsible for the protracted journey of the Cormo Express, by enforcing a rule that no member country can accept a shipment rejected by another.
Speaking at the WAFarmers Pastoral Section conference, Mr Chance said the Federal Government had learnt nothing from the Cormo incident, even after its actions had exacerbated the situation and put the resumption of the trade at considerable risk.
He said the Keniry report into live exports relied too much on establishing a Middle East quarantine facility.
"It shouldn't be the basis of our whole policy," he said. "Surely it is not beyond our wit and wisdom to construct a protocol with our partners in the Middle East that can adequately cater for a situation such as this and deal with it."
He said the necessary framework already existed within the GCC and the Federal Government could accept it with some modifications.
He said the GCC rule concerning rejection of livestock allowed countries to destroy on-site those animals it had rejected, which could have avoided the debate about slaughtering the sheep at sea, or compromising quarantine by returning them to Australia.
The Government's mistakes during the Cormo incident included ignoring Saudi requests to wait and see if the symptoms of scabby mouth disease were excreted, before seeking another market.
"There was a mistake of similar proportions - if not worse - when the ship went to Kuwait; when the ship arrived there was no request for inspection applied for," he said.
"I spoke personally with Sheikh Fahed and he told me one to one that there was never a request filed and yet he read in the international press that he had refused to allow the ship to be unloaded in Kuwait.
"If they (the Government) had thought to consider the issues that occurred, they would have approached their current negotiations with the Saudis and others in the market with much more sensitivity. What I'm seeing gives me little or no confidence that they have learnt anything at all."
WAFarmers meat section president Mike Norton said problems with the live export trade were unlikely to be resolved quickly.
"I believe that (Prime Minister) Howard is very much in control of this issue and will not risk damaging the Coalition's chances in the lead-up to the next election by having another Cormo," he said.
"I think they'll overregulate it to buggery just as they did during the meat substitution wrangle during the mid-eighties; they're going to get their fingers in a tight grip on the issue and I think we've just got to grin and bear it."