Irrigators receive date for water trade rules

By Jamie Salter

Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville has confirmed an interim regulation for tagged water use to begin on Thursday, December 12, pending final approval.

“These changes will create an even playing field for northern Victorian irrigators — ensuring there is fairness and consistency for all, while also reducing the risk of environmental damage,” Ms Neville said.

Under the new inter-valley trade rule, tagged trades will be subject to the 200 Gl limit and once the limit is reached, water from tagged accounts will not be able to be moved from the Goulburn to the Murray.

Temporary exemptions will apply for entitlements grandfathered under the Basin Plan Trading Rules and Lower Broken Creek customers.

An interim operating regime will limit the volume of traded water from the Goulburn to the Murray system to 50 Gl per month.

VFF Water Council chairman Richard Anderson had urged for the announcement to create certainty for business owners.

“We are pleased the government has listened to the VFF and we now have a date so everyone knows where they stand,” Mr Anderson said.

“Not having a date was creating unease among irrigators, so we are pleased the government has responded to the advocacy efforts of the VFF.”

Ms Neville said the huge increases in the amount of water being traded between the Murray and Goulburn rivers in recent years had resulted in "unseasonably high flows that damage the Goulburn River".