British newspaper The Guardian is set to become one of the biggest news outlets in Australia when it launches its local operation later this year.
Overnight the left-leaning newspaper confirmed it will hire staff locally as it looks to capitalise on and increase the 1.3m regular readers it already has down under, making it its fourth largest market.
It will launch as a digital edition and be backed by Global Mail founder and financier Graeme Wood, while Guardian deputy editor Katharine Viner will be the launch editor, and ABC’s outgoing deirector of editorial policies Paul Chadwick is to be non-executive director.
The launch will bring increased competition into the news realm currently dominated by News Limited and Fairfax, although the editorial policies of the paper will probably see it become the most liberal major news outlet.
Viner said: "This is such an exciting time to be launching the Guardian in Australia. We already have a large number of Australian readers, who tell us they want more of our on-the-ground reporting, lively commentary and groundbreaking open journalism.
“We will build a small Australian team to cover the issues that really matter to the nation and connect our Australian readers to the Guardian's global network of correspondents and commentators."
Guardian News and Media’s editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger said the Aussie operation would serve as a base for more in-depth coverage of the Asia region.
In lin with the traditions and editorial policies of the paper, founded in Manchester in 1821, any financial backers will not have any input into editorial decisions, an issue Fairfax has recently struggled with as Gina Rinehart looks for a seat on the board.
No date has been given for the launch, other than some time in 2013.