The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is undertaking a review of the Goulburn to Murray trade rule, following concerns about environmental damage to the lower Goulburn River from delivering unseasonal high flows of traded water to downstream users.

DELWP recently completed consultation on the Goulburn to Murray trade review regulatory impact statement, which ran over March and April 2021. A Closing the Loop report summarising what we heard through consultation is available below, and submissions have been published on the Engage Victoria website.

In response to what we heard from the community, and to provide certainty to the water market for the year ahead, the Acting Minister for Water has announced interim operating and trade rules will be in place from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 while we learn more over this next summer and autumn about how to use more variable flows to deliver inter-valley trade within ecological tolerances. Long-term trade and operating rules will be announced next year, incorporating what we learn through this trial year. You can read the acting Minister’s media release here.

Information on the interim trade and operating rules is available in this news item and in the fact sheets below. You can continue to find out real time trade opportunities here and using the Where can I trade tool.

Further consultation will be undertaken in coming months with Lower Broken Creek irrigators to design system-specific tagged water use rules. An announcement on all long-term tagged water use restrictions will be made prior to 30 November 2021, when interim tagged water use regulations are set to expire.

Regulatory Impact Statement

The Acting Minister for Water released a regulatory impact statement (RIS) consultation paper in March 2021. You can read the Minister’s media release here, and view the RIS consultation paper and attachments below.

Public consultation on the RIS included a mixture of online webinars, online drop-in sessions and small group face to face consultation undertaken in line with Covid-19 health advice. Recordings of some of these sessions are available via the links below.

 

  • Webinar: Agriculture Victoria webinar series – Goulburn to Murray trade and Murray delivery risks
      • Wednesday 24 March, 1:00pm – 2.00pm. To watch a recording of this webinar click here or use the recording below.

  • Webinar: Goulburn to Murray trade review – Lower Broken Creek
    • Thursday 8 April, 10.00am – 12.00pm. To watch a recording of the webinar click here.

About the RIS

The RIS identifies options for operating rules that mean lower and more variable flows over summer and autumn, when the river would naturally be lower, and trade rules that match what can sustainably be delivered under the proposed operating rules without increasing delivery risks. The RIS also identifies options for restricting tagging arrangements in line with allocation trade rules and further looks at options for restricting grandfathered tagged arrangements in Victoria.

Trade rule options were refined after initial community consultation held in 2020. More information on this consultation period is available below. Operating rules have been developed based on scientific evaluation of the environmental risks for the lower Goulburn river (see links below).

As part of the RIS, infrastructure options were also assessed to improve outcomes in future under the proposed long-term operating, trade and tagging arrangements.

The RIS also looked at options for managing trade from the Goulburn system to the Lower Broken Creek, which is part of the Murray system. An additional consultation paper was prepared on these options and is available below. 

Additional technical attachments were also released alongside the RIS as key information for understanding the ecological tolerances of the lower Goulburn River. You can get a copy of the technical attachments to the RIS below.

The draft legislative instruments proposed as part of the regulatory impact statement are below, which will put in place the new Goulburn to Murray trade rule and long-term tagged use regulations, pending the outcomes of public consultation.

Further information will be posted to this website when available.

Background

To limit further damage in 2019-20 the Minister for Water announced three key actions in August 2019, to reduce the risk to the lower Goulburn River and to get future market settings right for Goulburn to Murray trade. These were:

  • an interim operational regime to achieve variable summer and early autumn flows in the lower Goulburn River (implemented from December 2019);
  • bringing all trade under the same rules so that use from a tagged account is subject to the same 200 GL inter-valley trade (IVT) limit as allocation trades (changes made on 12 December 2019); and
  • the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) beginning public consultation on changes to the Goulburn to Murray trade rule in early 2020.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning has previously released a series of factsheets below outlining the findings from the first stage of the review, including the impact to the environment, the changes in trade rules and IVT deliveries and what to expect in 2019-20.

Initial public consultation was held between March and June 2020 on potential changes to the Goulburn to Murray trade rule, as well as on potential options for managing trade between the Goulburn and Lower Broken Creek. A closing the loop report summarising what we heard is available below.

In line with Covid-19 health advice, much of this consultation was held online, with a series of webinars available on the Engage Victoria website here.

A copy of the initial consultation paper on trade rule options and attachments are available below.