The Government is committed to increasing water market transparency and actively monitoring water markets to ensure that they continue to operate effectively. 

The annual audit of allocation trades submitted by water brokers through the Victorian Water Register’s online Broker Portal is a key component of recognising water brokers that meet government standards and auditing requirements.  The audit helps to ensure that brokers meet their obligations to provide transparency of allocation trades and accurate price disclosure to all parties. The audit also evaluates the security of sensitive information and investigates brokers’ knowledge of their responsibilities to their clients.

DELWP engaged consultants from RSM for both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 annual audits. RSM audited all 22 water broker firms that submitted trades during 2017-18 and 21 brokers in 2018-19 to determine how they complied with the Victorian Water Register online Broker Portal use agreement and rules.  

Read more: Release of latest Victorian water brokers audit reports

Victorians in eligible drought and bushfire impacted parts of the State can have the application fee to construct a domestic and stock bore waived up until Friday, 31 July 2020. 

In line with the planned duration of this assistance and after consideration of current factors, from 1 August 2020, the $235 fee for applications to construct a domestic and stock bore will apply.

Read more: Domestic & Stock Bore Fee Relief Ends 31 July 2020

This report is the 16th in the annual series and summarises Victoria’s water availability, distribution and use for the 2018-19 year. In a time of more extreme weather events and extended periods of water scarcity, regular and comprehensive public water reporting has never been more important. Victoria continues to lead the way in such reporting.

For the first year – the VWA team will now have two digital reporting offerings. The ‘Highlights’ explain Victorian’s Water Entitlement and Management Frameworks and shows how water trends are changing over time. Our soon to be released VWA Online will move the VWA into the digital space – it will provide detailed information at a catchment scale about the availability and use of water in Victoria each year.

We have enhanced and updated the Highlights (https://howmuch.water.vic.gov.au/) released last year with 2018-19 data. This digital resource complements the written and online report, providing a contemporary way to engage with water data and learn more about how water resources are managed in Victoria.

Read more: Victorian Water Accounts 2018-19 now available

A new independent report by Aither has been released today, updating previous analysis and providing greater confidence in the estimated current and future horticultural demands in the southern Murray-Darling Basin, and the lower Murray region.

The updated report has been developed with increased collaboration with the Victorian, New South Wales and South Australian governments, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and industry experts to provide an up-to-date understanding of how horticultural water demands are changing.

The revised report gives a greatly increased level of confidence to previous findings – that there will be increasing challenges for horticultural plantings to meet their water needs in dry years – particularly in the lower Murray region.

Read more: Updated estimate of water supply and horticulture demand in the southern Basin

The Victorian Water Register will open for trades at 12 noon AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time) on Thursday 2 July 2020.

Further information is provided below on certain trade limits and factors that will affect opening trade opportunities.

Read more: Trade opening information for 2 July 2020

After three years of very dry conditions, dam levels are rising due to recent rainfall and the end of the irrigation season. The risk of spills is greater now than it has been for this time of year over the past few seasons. Entitlement holders should consider this when making decisions about how to hold any unused water and plan for the new water year.

The Northern Victorian Resource Manager has released information on seasonal outlooks and spill risks for 2020-21.

On 15 May the Northern Victorian Resource Manager updated the outlook for 2020-21 seasonal determinations, with wetter than average conditions forecast for winter. More information on seasonal determinations for northern Victoria is available at https://nvrm.net.au/outlooks/current-outlook.

Read more: Understanding seasonal outlooks and spill risks with return to wetter conditions

The Victorian government is committed to increasing water market transparency. This commitment includes making available new water market information and improved insights into the market.

During the water market transparency options paper consultation, we heard that there was a need for increased transparency of allocation trades, how much water is available and better information on inter-valley trading.

Today, three new dashboards have been released on the Victorian Water Register website to increase transparency on:

Read more: New market insights to increase transparency

Application fees for dealing in water shares and to trade water allocation are set by regulation under the Water Act 1989 and are based on the monetary fee unit set by the Victorian Treasurer.

The Treasurer has determined no increase to the monetary fee unit in 2020-21.

Therefore, the prescribed fees for dealing in water shares and trading water allocation will remain the same as currently set for 2019-20.

The 2020-21 prescribed fees are now up on the water register website and can be found here: https://waterregister.vic.gov.au/about/forms-and-fees/fees

The Victorian Water Register will be closed while we complete the end of year accounting to roll over from the 2019-20 water year to 2020-21.

On-line services will be suspended from 5pm AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time) on Tuesday 30 June 2020 until 12 noon AEST on Thursday 2 July 2020.

Read more: Important info for end of 2019-20 financial year

Community consultation held last year saw a desire for more publicly available information about water ownership and we are asking the community to help us fill in the gaps on what this information should be. Thank you to those who filled in the previous survey, your contributions are being used to improve transparency in Victoria's water markets.

We are now conducting further consultation to ask water users and irrigators about what details they are comfortable sharing to ensure the correct balance between transparency and privacy has been struck. Please head to https://engage.vic.gov.au/water-market-transparency to fill in a short survey, it should only take 5 minutes.

Read more: Further consultation on water market transparency

The Victorian government is committed to increasing water market transparency. Part of this will maintain a current listing of the names of water brokers that meet government standards required for using Victoria’s online Broker Portal.

The Victorian Water Register offers an automated allocation trade approval process for water brokers through the Broker Portal for water brokers. To access the Broker Portal, water brokers have committed to the Victorian Water Register Interface Access Agreement and Victorian Water Register Interface Common Rules.

In signing the Victorian Water Register Interface Access Agreement, the water broker agrees that they:

  • Have clear obligations to obtain correct customer authorisation, and properly notify customers of trade outcomes in a timely manner at all times;
  • Are responsible for maintaining the security and confidentiality of customer data relating to any trades submitted;
  • Retain records relating to the applications they submit and provide these records to the Department of Environment. Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) on request, including for the purpose of auditing compliance with the Agreement; and
  • Must maintain professional indemnity insurance of not less than $5 million that specifically includes the conducting of a water broking business, or similar water market activity.

Read more: Water Brokers accessing the online Broker Portal

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning have extended public consultation on the Goulburn to Murray trade review and updated the approach for talking to the community in light of COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria.

Two new documents have also been made available which provide practical examples of how the trade rule options work, and more background about trade rules in northern Victoria.

Consultation has been extended to 15 May 2020 to allow more time for the public to consider the proposed changes and make submissions through the Engage Victoria website.

DELWP will be running a set of webinars for the public in place of public sessions so people can listen to a presentation and have the chance to ask questions about the specifics of the trade rule options.

Webinars will be run on the 24th, 27th and 28th of April and details are available on the Engage Victoria website.

Read more: Consultation extended on Goulburn to Murray trade review

In line with the trading rules for the Broken system, allocation trade out of the Broken system will close for this season on Tuesday 31 March 2020. Trade applications received after 31 March will not be approved.
The 31 March 2020 closing date does not apply to trade within the Broken system or back-trade into the Broken from other systems.
Available trade opportunities can be found here.

An issue was encountered this morning, Wednesday 18 March 2020, in the processing of trade opportunities in Victorian Water Register.

This issue resulted in an error in the volume of trade opportunity available under the Goulburn to Murray trade rule.

Once this issue was identified, all online trading services, including the Broker Portal and API and MyWater were immediately taken offline.

The issue has now been resolved and all online services were restored at approximately 11.00am this morning.

The balance of the Goulburn IVT account is currently about 210 GL. In line with the Goulburn to Murray trade rule, further trade opportunity will only be available if the balance of the Goulburn IVT account reduces below 200 GL.

The Minister for Water has released a consultation paper on changes to the Goulburn to Murray trade rule and today the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning starts 6 weeks of public consultation to gather community feedback on the proposals.

The Goulburn to Murray trade rule affects how water can be traded between the Goulburn and Murray systems, and feedback from the community will support the development and implementation of trade rules to be better manage trade between the two systems.

You can get a copy of the consultation paper below and more information on the Goulburn to Murray trade review can be found here.

Read more: Consultation begins on Goulburn to Murray trade rule changes

The Victorian Government remains committed to improving market transparency and is publishing more information than ever before including on how carryover is being used.

DELWP today published the first in a series of fact sheets on carryover, which offers insights into how carryover is being used by active irrigators across northern Victoria.

Over coming months, DELWP will be publishing additional fact sheets on the Water Register website:

  • How environmental water holders are using carryover;
  • How spill rules work for carryover; and
  • Carryover, trade and use – how entitlement holders are behaving.

We are continuing to work with irrigators and other water users in northern Victoria to better understand concerns about carryover, water market prices and the need for more information on water markets. DELWP have put together frequently asked questions and will publish more information as we continue to engage with water users across different industries and regions in Victoria.

This supports the Victorian Government’s push for greater transparency for water markets to help boost confidence and that they are working for all Victorians. 

For more information on other actions to improve market transparency, read the Minister’s media release here.
Previously provided information and factsheets on carryover can be found here

The Victorian Government is committed to improving water market transparency and making our information more available and accessible than ever before.

One of the features of water trading is inter-valley trade, which can be used to move allocation between different trading zones by allocation trade or tagged use.

The ability to move water between trading zones is subject to trade limits, which define how much water can be transferred from one trading zone to another.

Today, DELWP in association with Goulburn-Murray Water and Lower Murray Water  are releasing an instructional video on how to use the ‘Where can I trade?’ tool.

Read more: How to use the ‘Where can I trade?’ tool

Trade from the Goulburn, Loddon, Broken and Campaspe systems to the Victorian Murray and interstate is prevented when the balance of the Goulburn Inter-Valley Trade (IVT) account is 200 GL or more.

At the time of this news item, the balance of the Goulburn IVT account is approximately 201 GL.

Water is continuing to be called out from the Goulburn IVT account by the MDBA to supply the Murray. These releases are reducing the balance of the Goulburn IVT account and will create trade opportunity once the balance reduces below 200 GL.

The Resource Manager will be publicly updating the balance of the Goulburn IVT account with the volumes called out at 10am on a Wednesday.

This season, volumes called out from the Goulburn IVT are being updated once a week, rather than twice a week as in previous seasons.

Read more: Goulburn to Murray allocation trade opportunity

There are some significant changes that come into effect from January 1, 2020.

From January 1 onwards, the "Oaths and Affirmations Act 2018" which came into effect on 1 March 2019, will change the framework for the way to make statutory declarations.

A transitional period that allowed statutory declarations to be valid even if made under the old system expires on New Year's Eve 2019, and the new framework must be followed from 1 January, 2020.

If you use statutory declarations, you need to understand the changes.

Read more: Changes to Statutory Declarations from January 1

The tracking allocation trade functionality that allows a broker to track his/her trades is now available again:

http://waterregister.vic.gov.au/Public/TrackAllocation.aspx

The trade outcome notification letters that a broker sends to his/her customers includes the link (http://waterregister.vic.gov.au/Public/TrackAllocation.aspx) so that the customers can see the details of their trades according to the Water Register website.