MEMBER for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall has taken to the floor of the NSW Parliament to condemn Fairfax Media’s proposal to cut 22 jobs at newspapers across the region.
Mr Marshall has moved a General Business Notice of Motion and delivered a Private Members Statement slamming the media organisation for its decision which he said lacked “vision, guile and foresight.” He has called on Fairfax to reconsider its proposal.
“The proposed cuts to Fairfax staff have no support: not from me, not from any political leaders, not from any quarter in our region,” Mr Marshall told Parliament.
“We have been unequivocal in our strident condemnation of a decision by Fairfax that will not only hurt employees and their families but also the political discourse, communication and discussion in what is a vibrant and growing region in country NSW.”
Mr Marshall said Fairfax Media wanted to axe more than 22 staff across the region, the majority of them editorial staff.
“The company’s proposal, if implemented, would result in the number of editorial staff being more than halved at the Moree Champion, the Glen Innes Examiner, the Namoi Valley Independent, and the Armidale Express, just to mention a few. They will be drastically cutting the number of editors and photographers employed across the region.
“The plan will also close the Guyra Argus office and the office of the Walcha News, forgoing the four staff there – and those cuts hurt the most.
Mr Marshall said many of the region’s local newspapers had a rich and proud history that extended back more than 100 years.
“The dedicated journalists and staff are the greatest assets of those mastheads,” he said. “They have invested years of service in sustaining these grand journals of record. They understand the communities they serve and what makes them tick.
“The massive job cuts threaten to damage the quality of regional journalism and affect the ability of our local press to comprehensively and independently cover news and sport right throughout the Northern Tablelands.
“These local newspapers have not just a role in our community – they are the vanguards of a free, open and confident society and the custodians of our community history and community spirit.
“I ask that Fairfax invest in the future of its people and have confidence in its product and re-think its proposal.”
ADAM MARSHALL’S NOTICE OF MOTION:
Today I give Notice that tomorrow I shall move that this House:
1. Opposes proposed cuts to Fairfax Media publications in the New England and North West regions, which will see 22 journalists and staff lose their jobs;
2. Laments that these cuts will reduce the local content in the Tenterfield Star, Glen Innes Examiner, Inverell Times, Moree Champion, Guyra Argus, Armidale Express, Northern Daily Leader, Walcha News, Goondiwindi Argus and Namoi Valley Independent; and
3. Calls on Fairfax Media management to reconsider its proposed restructure and online engagement strategy.