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Two print centres to close as Fairfax Media and News Corp enter shared agreement

News Corp and Fairfax Media have entered an agreement to share printing presses in a bid to save costs, which will see the closure of two print press sites and the loss of up to 120 permanent and casual jobs in News South Wales and Queensland.

The two major Australian publishers announced this morning they would use each other’s print networks in particular regions across Australia, in an attempt to “reduce capital intensity”.

The two publishers announced a consolidation of print services

In New South Wales and Queensland, News Corp will provide printing services for Fairfax Media, while in North Richmond, Fairfax Media will provide services to News Corp.

Fairfax Media will transition work from print centres in Beresfield, NSW and Ormiston, Queensland. Once completed, the two sites will close.

Mumbrella understands up to 120 staff members – both permanent and casuals – will be affected, unless redeployment opportunities can be identified. News Corp has said there will be no redundancies at its sites.

CEO and managing director of Fairfax Media, Greg Hywood, said the production of newspapers will be “more efficient” as a result of the agreement. It echoes his comments from 2016, when he suggested Fairfax would jump on opportunities to work with others on printing services.

Hywood also flagged the company had achieved an 11% decline in costs at the half year results – from savings in staff, technology and print production.

“These are landmark initiatives. They demonstrate a rational approach to the complex issues facing the industry,” Hywood said.

“We expect the combination of the new arrangements, and the changes to Fairfax’s printing network to result in an annualised full-year benefit of approximately $15m.”

Hywood said the company was consulting with staff affected by the arrangements, pointing to “comprehensive assistance and support” for all employees.

News Corp Australia chairman Michael Miller said the agreements demonstrated the publisher’s confidence in the future of print newspapers, adding the agreements would help with scale and efficiency.

“As a publisher, we have absolute confidence in the ongoing significance of newspapers.  Within this framework, we need to continue to look at the most effective and efficient ways to produce newspapers,” Miller said.

“This is a commercial deal which makes commercial sense by enabling better use of our existing print facilities.”

The arrangement will have no impact on content for either publisher. The contract, which is solely for commercial print, will commence this month.

It replicates models in New Zealand and the United Kingdom, where competing publications are printed by the same centres.

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