Around 20% of the jobs cut will be editorial roles and two of the group’s printing plants will be closed.
Overall, the company will loose 10% of its 20,000 staff members in the next three years.
After the announcement, mining magnate Gina Rinehart increased her stake in the company through a share raid, raising her shares from 12.5% to 18.7%.
Already the world’s richest woman, Rinehart’s new share purchase will greatly increase her influence over the publisher. The multibillionaire is believed to be pushing for multiple spots on the media group’s board.
The company’s chief executive, Greg Hywood, said, “No one should doubt that we are operating in very challenging times”.
“Readers’ behaviours have changed and will not change back. As a result we are taking decisive action to fundamentally change the way we do business.”
The media group will see two of its major papers, the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Age, move from broadsheet-sized papers to tabloid, and a pay wall will be added for both titles in 2013.
The government’s communications minister, Stephen Conroy, added that the losses were regrettable for Fairfax but that they represented a worldwide move towards online publishing.
Fairfax is one of the oldest newspaper groups in the country. The publisher owns 400 major and regional newspapers, as well as radio stations and websites.
It has been reported that the cuts will lead to savings of A$235m by 2015.
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