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Federal Government to deliver 100Gl for fodder production

By Rodney Woods

The federal government will be releasing 100 gigalitres of water along the Murray River, which will be made available to farmers at discounted rates to grow fodder.

The release of water is part of a new drought stimulus package announced by the Federal Government on Thursday.

The Commonwealth will help South Australia turn on a desalination plant in return for the additional flows.

The water is expected to grow up to 120 000 tonnes of fodder.

"This is a practical measure which both deals with the hardship along the Murray, but importantly, deals with making available more fodder," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

The package also includes $1 million for each of the 122 drought-affected councils and shires along the east coast, if they need it.

At least six new shires and councils will also be offered $1 million.

A new program will also allow small businesses dependent on agriculture to apply for loans of up to $500 000 that can be used to pay staff, buy equipment and refinance.

There will also be $10 million for schools facing hardship as a result of the ongoing drought, including fee concessions for boarding students.

Another $5 million will help assist child care centres experiencing decreased demand and the government will redirect $200 million from the Building Better Regions Fund to support drought-stricken communities, and pump an extra $138.9 million into road projects.

More to come.