The Victorian Government has announced a temporary suspension of some of the state’s allocation trade in a bid to protect next season’s allocations to Victorian water entitlement holders.


The suspension is due to last until the end of June and will begin immediately for the following trades:


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


Victorian Minister for Water Peter Walsh said that the state’s high storage levels, large volumes of unused irrigation water and the state’s carryover rules were contributing to increased challenges facing allocation trade.


“The current circumstances are very similar to those of last year when an identical suspension was put in place," Mr Walsh said.


Mr Walsh said allocation trades into the Victorian Murray increased the obligation to deliver water to users, but Victorian storages did not receive a matching secure volume of water.


"Victoria and NSW have agreed to amend accounting rules so that when there is a chance of spill from Hume Dam, water is transferred in Dartmouth," Mr Walsh said.


"But when there is also a chance of spill from Dartmouth, Victoria cannot securely accept any more water from NSW. If allocation trade from NSW continues in this situation, the water available to Victorian irrigators in the next irrigation season may be reduced.


"Trade from the Goulburn, Campaspe and Loddon systems will also impact on future allocations in the Victorian Murray system if trade is not temporarily suspended.


"If there is a spill from Lake Eildon in the new season, it will wipe out some or all of the water to be supplied to the Murray or interstate from the inter-valley account, which poses an unacceptable risk to Victorian Murray allocations next season.


"With Eildon at 94 per cent, it's likely there will be one or more spill events from Lake Eildon."


Mr Walsh said Victoria supported trade but the suspensions were necessary as it was unfair to allow trade if it was done at the expense of Victorian Murray entitlement holders.


Mr Walsh said the suspensions would apply to applications for trade allocation that were received after close of business yesterday, when the temporary suspension rules were published in the Government Gazette.


Mr Walsh said a review of carryover was currently underway, with the Carryover Review Committee reviewing various aspects of the carryover provisions and in particular the spill rule that applies on the Murray system.


"It is very important that we review these rules to ensure they provide the best policy framework for the future," Mr Walsh said.