Victoria's trading rules exist in a number of documents, as listed below. Each document is in a compiled form, including any revisions made to the original of the document.

Declared systems (water share and allocation trade)

Water share trade and allocation trade in Victoria is governed by rules set by the Minister for Water. The trading rules aim to facilitate trade wherever possible, while minimising negative impacts on other users and the environment.

A copy of the consolidated trading rules for declared water systems is available below, along with a map that shows the trading zones and summarises trading capability between zones for Victorian regulated water systems. 

A new Goulburn to Murray trade rule came into effect on 1 July 2022. The new trade rule and complementary operating rules were introduced to protect the lower Goulburn River from sustained unseasonal high flows. Read more here. Below is a fact sheet, frequently asked questions about how the new rule works and some worked examples showing how Goulburn to Murray trade opportunity is calculated.

The trading rules for declared water systems were changed on 1 July 2014 so that Victoria can meet its obligations under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. Read more.

Tagged use restrictions

On 30 November 2021, long-term restrictions came into effect to prevent water use from tagged accounts when related allocation trade limits have been reached. These restrictions clearly translate the intent of Basin Plan trading rules into the Victorian framework.

Restrictions on tagged use only apply when allocation trade is also closed.

These restrictions are made through enduring regulations and an associated Ministerial Determination. The Determination defines which allocation trading rules apply and any relevant exemptions. Copies of the regulations, the Ministerial Determination and Frequently Asked Questions on these new regulations are available below.

The enduring regulations for water use from tagged accounts were made after a review of the lower Goulburn River operating rules and the Goulburn to Murray trade and tagged use rule was undertaken. As part of this review, a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) and associated public consultation were completed early 2021. Additional information about the review and the other outcomes can be found here.

An exemption for the Lower Broken Creek from restriction when the Goulburn to Murray trade rule is closed will continue to apply until 30 June 2026 while we monitor how water is tagged and used in the Creek. 

An exemption from restriction for tagged entitlements ‘grandfathered’ under section 12.23 of the Basin Plan also existed prior to 1 July 2024. This exemption was removed through an amendment to the Basin Plan on commencement of the Commonwealth Water Amendment (Restoring Our Rivers) Act 2023. For more information about the removal of the exemption please see this news announcement.

Non-declared systems

Trading of take and use licence is managed by the relevant rural water corporations in accordance with the Ministerial Policies for Managing Take and Use Licences. Prior to deciding to approve a permanent or temporary transfer of a take and use licence, the water corporation must have regard to a number of matters including any adverse impacts on other water users.

There are also some local trading rules made by the relevant rural water corporation, as follows:

While the Coliban Water rural system is closed to external trade, trading within the system is tightly regulated. Information about Coliban Water's Rural Water Trading Rules is directly available from their website

Goulburn-Murray Water has trading rules for some groundwater licences. We would suggest that licence holders go to in the first instance.

Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water has trading rules specific to groundwater licences in their management plans. These can be found at GWMWater – How to trade groundwater.

Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water has also made some trading rules for the water allowances held by its pipeline customers. These are on the application forms which can be found at: GWMWater – changing and trading water allowances.

Southern Rural Water has made some trading rules for groundwater and surface water outside the Murray Darling Basin. For more information, go to: Southern Rural Water - water auctions and trading.

ACCC Guides on Fair Trading

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released three guides to help irrigators and water brokers and exchanges understand their rights and responsibilities under federal, state and territory trading laws.

The guides include tips on how to select a broker and what to keep in mind when arranging a trade. They are available on the internet at or by contacting the ACCC’s Infocentre on 1300 302 502.