The Trading Rules for Declared Systems were amended on 11 April 2011 to temporarily suspend allocation trade from the Goulburn, Campaspe and Loddon systems to the Victorian River Murray system, or to interstate.

The amendment mistakenly treated the Lower Broken Creek (zone 6B) as part of the Goulburn when it should have been treated as part of the Murray. An explanation of this is given below.

This has now been corrected by a further amendment to the Trading Rules (gazetted on 3 May 2011) to include zone 6B in the suspension of trades from the Goulburn, Campaspe and Loddon systems.

This further amendment has immediate effect.


In making the 11 April 2011 amendment, the Lower Broken Creek (zone 6B) was classified as part of the Goulburn. This was because the water shares there are largely supplied from the Goulburn system (via the East Goulburn Main Channel), and normally the zone has similar trading openings to the Lower Goulburn.

However, this classification was incorrect. The water shares in zone 6B are actually Murray system water shares. The water shares receive Murray allocation, with top-up water coming from the Murray system when Goulburn allocations are lower. Their carryover is deemed to be held in Murray storages, and so is relatively safe from spill in the coming season.

Trade from the Goulburn, Campaspe and Loddon systems to zone 6B would create the same issues as trade to the other Murray trading zones (zones 6 and 7). The water owed to the Murray from Eildon to support this trade is more likely to spill, with adverse consequences on future Murray allocations. Hence the suspension has been extended to cover trades from the Goulburn, Campaspe and Loddon systems to zone 6B.

Note that, as a result of classifying zone 6B as 'Murray', trade from zone 6B to the Murray and to interstate is no longer suspended.

The Minister for Water has approved changes to the trading rules to suspend some allocation trade in order to protect next season’s allocations to Victorian water entitlement holders on the Murray system.

The temporary suspension begins immediately for trade of water allocation -

  • from New South Wales to Victoria, and
  • from the Goulburn, Campaspe and Loddon systems to the Victorian River Murray system, or to interstate.

The suspensions of trade will be in place until 1 July 2011, but may need to be reinstated in certain circumstances.

High Murray-Darling Basin storage levels, huge volumes of unused irrigation water and Victoria’s progressive carryover rules have converged to create exceptional challenges for managing the impacts of allocation trade. This temporary suspension is required because these trades are increasing the obligation to deliver water to users on the Murray but are not supplying a matching volume of additional water. The reasons for this are:

  • Trade from NSW. Under the Murray-Darling Basin Agreement accounting rules, any trade from NSW to Victoria immediately transfers water to Victoria’s account in Hume Dam. But when Victoria’s share of Hume is full – as it is now - Victoria cannot store the water and does not gain any water to support the trade.
  • Trade from Goulburn, Campaspe or Loddon. If there was a spill from Lake Eildon in the new season, it would wipe out some or all of the water to be supplied to the Murray or interstate.

Victoria is a strong supporter of trade and regrets the necessity to put these suspensions in place. But it is unfair to allow trade if it is done at the expense of Victorian Murray entitlement holders.

A copy of the Minister for Water's media release is available below. Note that while the Minister's announcement was made on Wednesday 13 April 2011, the suspension actually came into effect when it was gazetted on Monday 11 April 2011.

pdfWalsh - Victoria suspends some water allocation trade 13April2011(PDF - 34 Kb)

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  • You can now download copies of individual water-use licences, delivery shares, take-and-use licences, and works licences, here.
  • New reports are available in the Water trading section, showing graphical trading history for water share transfers and allocation trades.
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A report on water trade in Victoria in 2009/10 is now available here.