Labor will seek Coalition cooperation for emergency support to publishers of regional newspapers as they face an imminent "terminal threat".
Newsprint prices are set to skyrocket on July 1, which the government was previously warned was coming during an inquiry into the health of the regional newspaper sector.
In recent days publisher ACM - the owner of this masthead - and industry association Country Press Australia have jointly written to the major political parties seeking financial assistance to offset the impact of an 80 per cent increase in the price of newsprint by Australia's only supplier.
Describing the newsprint crisis as "a terminal threat to local newspapers already on a knife-edge", Labor's communications spokeswoman Michelle Rowland says she will work with the publishing sector if Labor is in government to set in motion a response "before it's too late".
"Labor calls upon and stands ready to work with the government, in accordance with caretaker conventions, to formulate a crisis response," Ms Rowland said.
Ms Rowland, who has written to Communications Minister Paul Fletcher, said "news deserts" were emerging on Scott Morrison and Barnaby Joyce's watch.
While the Prime Minister was not responsible for the rising cost of newsprint, she accused him of "failing to do his job" to address the industry's inability to absorb pricing shocks.
"Scott Morrison's 'habit of allowing problems to become crises before mishandling them' now threatens some of the oldest and most respected newspapers in the country - papers that have survived drought, flood, COVID-19 and recession may not yet survive the Morrison government," Ms Rowland said.
In 2019, the ACCC had reported there were 21 local government areas without coverage by a single local newspaper.
"Just last week, the latest data from the Public Interest Journalism Initiative showed this figure has now jumped to 31 LGAs without local print or digital news coverage - with rural and remote regions worst affected," Ms Rowland said.
ACM executive chairman Antony Catalano said both major parties had "a duty to commit to regional communities and to do so immediately".
"Every day that passes puts jobs at risk and communities in danger of joining the ever-growing number of news deserts," Mr Catalano said.
The Communications Minister was prepared to come to the table over the pricing shocks that publishers faced, a spokesman for Mr Fletcher said.
"The Minister is aware of concerns raised by regional publishers and is making himself available to meet with them," he said.
The government has not responded to the regional newspaper inquiry's report, which was published in March and called for updates to media legislation and guarantees that 20 per cent of government advertising was placed in regional newspapers.
ACM's submission to the parliamentary committee warned that rising newsprint prices were "perhaps the single biggest threat to the viability of our publishing business, after COVID and its economic effects".
Both parties have released regional communication policies to increase the range of broadband and mobile networks but are yet to touch on their approach to regional news providers.