The news that the Border Watch group of newspapers (The Border Watch, South Eastern Times and Penola Pennant) will cease publication has reached me, like many in the South East community with disbelief and great sadness.

Having personally grown up reading the Border Watch almost every morning, I know firsthand that this will leave a noticeable absence in many people’s lives.

Regional news outlets are a fundamental part of regional communities and while the media industry have been going through significant changes since the introduction and growth of the internet and the way in which people receive their news, locally run, independent news outlets remain vital to our way of life. They not only connect and strengthen social ties within community but are an important part of Government transparency and accountability within a democracy.

After more than 159 years of publication, the last edition printed on Friday will also be a pivotal moment in the State’s and indeed the Nations, press history.

My thoughts are with the 38 employees of the Border Watch group.