More than 90 newspapers across regional Australia will share in over $10 million of grants, as part of the Coalition government's Public Interest News Gathering Fund.
Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Michael McCormack announced Australian Community Media - publisher of this masthead - would receive $10.4 million of the $50 million fund, which is designed to help newsrooms continue to tell the stories of their communities despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr McCormack - who was once the editor of the Daily Advertiser, which now sits in the ACM stable - said he was acutely aware of the pressures faced by regional media.
The grant to Australian Community Media was the largest awarded in the publishing stream, he said.
"Local news matters because local stories matter and as a former regional newspaper editor, I know the importance of Australian Community Media's network of outlets - that's why we are backing 91 of them with a more than $10 million investment," Mr McCormack said.
"This brings stability for local journalists, ensuring they can continue their important work with the certainty that their organisation's bottom line has been bolstered by the federal government."
Federal Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan said this funding for media outlets in Cowper could support a broad range of activities including staff wages, training and technology upgrades, enabling this organisation to keep delivering important news services to their communities.
"This brings stability for local journalists, ensuring they can continue their important work as we recover from COVID-19 with the certainty that their organisation has been supported," he said.
"The network of ACM papers delivers important public interest journalism, keeping our regional and remote communities informed and connected."
An ACM spokesperson welcomed the funding support but said there is still much to be done to ensure the future of regional journalism.
"While we appreciate the government's funding support we maintain our position that changes that will allow for the long term sustainability of regional media is required," the spokesperson said.
"The Save Our Voices campaign is asking for regulatory change that will provide the framework for ongoing viability of regional media businesses.
"ACM operates many titles outside those listed in the Deputy Prime Minister's press release and we will continue to monitor the viability of these titles as we slowly make our way out of COVID-19."
According to the Public Interest Journalism Initiative's Newsroom Mapping Project, almost 170 newsrooms have shut across Australia this year as COVID-19 decimated advertising revenue. In comparison, around 50 new papers have opened.
More than 100 grant agreements have now been reached under the news gathering fund, which was announced in May as part of the Morrison government's COVID-19 relief package.
Broadcaster Prime has received $4.7 million under the program, while WIN has received almost $4.5 million.
The government is under pressure to find ways to help regional media survive in the long term.
Prime, WIN and Southern Cross Austereo have joined with ACM to call on government to relax the voices test - which requires there to be at least four voices in regional commercial radio licence areas - and abolish the one-licence-to-a-market rule.