The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) is calling on the Victorian Government to announce the closing date
for tagged water trades from the Goulburn to the Murray system.
It comes on the back of Water Minister Lisa Neville’s announcement of an interim operational regime for the
Goulburn River with all trades from the Goulburn system including tagged accounts being treated
consistently with Inter-Valley Trade (IVT) rules from December.
VFF Water Council Chair Richard Anderson said that with December fast approaching, the VFF are
demanding clarity for irrigators on the date tagged water trades will be subject to the IVT rule.
“The VFF is calling on Minister Neville to urgently announce a date when these IVT rules will apply to tagged
water accounts and clarify how the IVT rule will be implemented.”
“In such extremely dry times when farmers are under intense pressure, they need certainty. The
Government must provide clear and definitive advice,” Mr Anderson said.
Murray irrigators within the Goulburn and Murray Irrigation District (GMID) who also owned Goulburn
water have been able to ‘tag’ their Goulburn water into their Murray account for use in the Murray system.
This tagged Goulburn water was not counted against the IVT rule, which limits how much water can leave
the Goulburn River to the Murray.
In August, Minister Neville acknowledged the environmental damage along the Goulburn River due to large
amounts of water trading to the Murray and announced all water trades including tagged accounts would be
subject to the IVT rule from December.
Irrigators in the Mallee that also own Goulburn water had never been able to tag their Goulburn water for
use in the Murray system. Yet they were given permission recently to tag water from the Goulburn to the
Murray which has driven the price of Goulburn water from $500 per megalitre to over $700 per megalitre.
“The uncertainty of this loophole is creating winners and losers. Permanent plantings in the Mallee are
driving up higher water prices on the Goulburn, Mallee irrigators are unclear how long they can keep
accessing this water for and Goulburn irrigators that had planned for summer crops and budgeted on water
staying around $500 per megalitre are now disadvantaged,” Mr Anderson said.
“We have some on the Goulburn selling water and happy to take a higher price, but others who had planned
on it being lower so they could plant summer crops, Mallee irrigators also need time to plan.”
“Farmers need to understand their water position now because government interventions in the water
market mid-season are challenging. That’s why the VFF is calling for the Minister to give farmers certainty,”
Mr Anderson concluded.
Richard Anderson, VFF Water Council Chairperson, 0428 832 210
Grady Powell, VFF Stakeholder Policy and Advocacy Manager, 0456 960 243
About the VFF
The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) is dedicated to representing the interests of farmers and making a
positive difference to their businesses and communities. We strive to create an environment for our
members, our farmers, that enables profitable, safe, sustainable production to ensure an enduring social
licence in a community that respects and values the sector.