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.

The Acting Minister for Water has released a regulatory impact statement (RIS) consultation paper and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning is now undertaking public consultation to gather community feedback on long-term option to protect the health of the lower Goulburn River. You can read the Minister’s media release here, and make submissions to the RIS consultation paper here.

Upcoming engagement

Public consultation will be held over six weeks in March and April 2020, with a series of webinars and online consultation sessions. If possible, small face to face consultation will also be held in small groups pending Covid-19 health advice. Information on consultation dates will continue to be updated on the Victorian Water Register website and on the Engage Victoria web page here.

  • Webinar 1: 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 2: Goulburn to Murray trade review
    • Tuesday 30 March, 10.00am – 12.00pm. To watch a recording of the webinar click here.
  • Online drop-in Q&A
    • Thursday 1 April, 10.00am – 11.00am. 
  • Webinar 3: Goulburn to Murray trade review – Lower Broken Creek
    • Thursday 8 April, 10.00am – 12.00pm. A recording of the webinar will be available soon.
  • Online drop-in Q&A: Lower Broken Creek
    • Tuesday 13 April, 6.00pm – 7.00pm.
  • Webinar 4: Goulburn to Murray trade review
    • Thursday 15 April, 6.00pm – 8.00pm. To attend, at the time of the event click here.
  • Online drop-in Q&A
    • Tuesday 20 April, 6.00pm – 7.00pm. Registration opening soon.

Information on how to access to these online sessions using Microsoft Teams is available in the document below.

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 have been 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 have also been assessed to improve outcomes in future under the proposed long-term operating, trade and tagging arrangements.

The RIS also looks 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 has been prepared on these options and is available below. Submissions on the Lower Broken Creek consultation paper can also be made here.

Additional technical attachments have also been 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 outlines the findings of work on the review so far, including the impact to the environment, the changes in trade rules and IVT deliveries and what to expect in 2019-20.

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.