MEMBER for Indi Cathy McGowan stood up in Federal Parliament yesterday, calling on regional communities to support quality journalism after Fairfax Media last week announced a plan to cut jobs across Victoria.
The proposal will see voluntary redundancies of about 80 full-time equivalent positions across Victoria, including 23 at The Border Mail.
A Fairfax Media spokesperson said: “We’re fully committed to supporting the Victorian communities we serve — being a strong voice for their local interests.
“Our proposal to adopt new ways of working and new technologies will help us sustain the important work we do in rural and regional communities well into the future.
“We need no convincing that our journalism has a vital role in our communities.”
Consultation with employees is under way.
Ms McGowan told Parliament regional newspapers were community institutions, as well as products of public companies and private enterprise.
“Our newspapers are, at their best, much more than the front and back page,” she said.
“In my community, papers such as The Border Mail enable the community voice to be heard, transactions to take place, and people to hatch, match and be dispatched.
“They enable innovation to be shared.”
Ms McGowan highlighted the work of The Border Mail, which advocated for such services as headspace Albury-Wodonga.
“The Border Mail allows us to see ourselves,” she said.
“Today in this house I call on my community: let’s stand up; let’s tell Fairfax.
“Decisions by organisations such as Fairfax have a huge impact on my electorate and other people’s electorates.
“They have asked us for our opinion.
“Let’s tell them how much our community newspapers mean for us, and, at their best, what they can do for us.”
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