Guardian office
Credit: Michael Bruntonspall on Flickr. Some rights reserved
The Guardian will launch an Australian operation this year with a "small Australian team to cover the issues that really matter to the nation".

In a release
the Guardian said comScore figures from October 2012 showed Australia to be the newspaper's "fourth largest market", with an audience of 1.3 million unique users out of a worldwide total of almost 40 million. This follows the UK, US and Canada. The Guardian launched a US digital operation in 2011, led by former guardian.co.uk editor Janine Gibson.

Editor-in-chief of Guardian News & Media Alan Rusbridger added in a release that as well as reporting on Australia, the operation will "also serve as a base for reporting on, and engaging with, people across Asia".

The Guardian said that chairman of The Global Mail in Australia Graeme Wood is "a founding investor" of the Guardian's Australian operation. According to the Global Mail website Wood was "sole founding philanthropist" of the Australian non-profit.

The Guardian's release adds: "In addition to the founding relationship with Wood, the Guardian will seek to build both editorial and further commercial partnerships in developing its Australian presence.

"However, Wood and any future commercial partners will naturally have no say in editorial matters, reflecting the principles established by The Scott Trust Ltd."

Deputy editor of the Guardian Katharine Viner has been named as launch editor for the Australian edition.

"This is such an exciting time to be launching the Guardian in Australia," Viner said in the release.

"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."

Rusbridger added: "As a global media organisation with a history of growth and ambition, this is a natural next step for Guardian journalism.

"Our Australian digital edition will not only offer our unique take on Australia, a significant nation both regionally and globally, but will also serve as a base for reporting on, and engaging with, people across Asia."

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