Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy says the dramatic restructures at Fairfax Media and News Limited this week marked the beginning of the end for hard copy newspaper editions.
Senator Conroy described the rapid demise highlighted by Fairfax Media and News Limited restructures as "a very sad day".
"The print newspaper is under enormous pressure and what's you're seeing here is possibly the beginning of the end for the print newspaper," he told Channel Nine on Friday.
He called newspapers "venerable" institutions that "played a vital role in democracy".
But he had a dire prediction for traditional weekday editions.
"I wouldn't be putting money betting that there'll be print newspapers during the week in five years' time," he said.
"There's a very tough time in the print media sector at the moment."
The ABC reports News Ltd announced an overhaul of its Australian operations on Thursday.
Fairfax Media announced on Monday that it would axe 1900 positions, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age would be reduced in size to tabloid format and printing presses in Sydney and Melbourne would be closed.