The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is exploring changes to operational rules and trade rules to ensure that water traded from the Goulburn to the Murray can be delivered without unacceptable impacts on the environment or the reliability of other entitlements.

Delivering water from the Goulburn inter-valley trade account during summer and autumn to support water requirements of the Murray system caused significant environmental damage to the lower Goulburn River over the two irrigation seasons of 2017-18 and 2018-19.


Minister’s announcement

On 13 August the Minister for Water Lisa Neville announced changes to timelines for the Goulburn to Murray trade review. In response to community feedback and acknowledging the impacts of coronavirus, the Victorian Government has adjusted timelines for the introduction of new long-term trade and operating arrangements. New Goulburn to Murray trade rules will be introduced at the start of the 2021-22 irrigation season, providing irrigators with more time for consultation and to plan for any long term-changes.

You can read the full announcement here: https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/delivering-basin-wa...

Next round of public consultation

Following public feedback on our initial consultation paper earlier this year, DELWP is now preparing a draft Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) that will assess refined trade rule options based on what we heard from the community and identify a preferred option for implementation.

DELWP will be seeking further consultation on options identified in this RIS and a related implementation plan later this year.

Further consultation will also be undertaken later this year with Lower Broken Creek customers regarding the unique circumstances of this trading zone, and how the zone should be treated under any changed Goulburn to Murray inter-valley trade rules.

Regulatory Impact Statement

The Goulburn to Murray trade review is being undertaken to enable sustainable delivery of water under new operating rules for the lower Goulburn, and to make sure trade and use from tagged accounts reflect environmental thresholds.

The RIS will cover both an assessment of changes to the Goulburn to Murray inter-valley trade rule as well as enduring regulations for restricting use from tagged accounts, which will replace the interim tagged allocation regulations introduced in December 2019. These are being assessed together as an impact on the trading rule directly impacts the tagged allocation regulations.

The RIS analysis will draw upon the work of an independent scientific panel to assess the likely impacts of trade and operational rule options on environmental values, and will further assess the impacts of each option on cultural, social and economic values.

Closing the loop on consultation to date

Earlier this year, DELWP released a paper for public consultation exploring how operational rules set by environmental thresholds interact with possible changes to trade rules. DELWP prepared a set of questions to help us gather relevant information and encouraged submissions in response to the consultation paper.

Thank you to all who provided feedback on the initial consultation paper. The Closing the Loop report brings together what we heard from the community. Information on interim measures and our next steps can be found at https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/delivering-basin-wa....

Public versions of the submissions we received can be accessed via the links below.

Goulburn to Murray Trade Rule Review submissions

Almond Board of Australia
PDF (326.91 KB)
Australian Fishing Trade Association
PDF (173.83 KB)
Australian Trout Foundation
PDF (136.98 KB)
Commonwealth Environmental Water Office
PDF (160.57 KB)

Goulburn to Murray trade rule review - Presentation

Lower Broken Creek - Goulburn to Murray trade rule review: public consultation

Possible alternative trade rule options

The consultation paper describes the current rule and three possible alternative trade rule options. These are:

  • Current limit - The current rule allows trade to the Murray when the balance of the Goulburn IVT account is less than 200 GL.
  • Annual cap - An annual cap would set a limit to the volume of water that can be traded out of the Goulburn system each year that is the same under all seasonal conditions. A key challenge of this option is defining the limit and the appropriate volume of trade.
  • Dynamic rule - A dynamic trade rule would be a two part rule. The first part would work in a similar way to the current rule allowing trade within an IVT limit that can be drawn down as water is delivered early in the irrigation season. The second part would work in a similar way to the annual limit to set a cap on tradeable volumes for the rest of the year based on what can be delivered.
  • Seasonally-based rule - The seasonally-based rule would be a two part rule based on seasonal flows in the lower Goulburn River. The first part would be the ability to use water from a tagged account form the Goulburn to Murray during spring, late autumn and winter, when the delivery of traded water does not have negative impacts on the environment. The second part would work in a similar way to the annual limit to set a cap on tradeable volumes for the rest of the year based on what can be delivered.


Which trade rule option would you most support?
To increase the volume of water that can be delivered from the Goulburn IVT account via irrigation infrastructure, do you support a fee-for-service model where additional trade may occur with an associated delivery charge?
Are you an active water market participant - did you use, buy or sell water in northern Victoria in the last two year or aim to in the next two years? Required

The survey form is now closed. Thanks for your contributions.

Collection notice

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is committed to protecting personal information provided by you in accordance with the principles of the Victorian privacy laws.

The information you have provided may be used to inform the Goulburn to Murray trade rule review and to send you updates about the program.

You may access the information you have provided to the department by emailing water.markets@delwp.vic.gov.au.

More information about DELWP's privacy policy is available via the link below: