Links from news sites are particularly beneficial because they are generally well regarded by Google. Say you had a Perth based website and scored a mention in an article in the West Australian. If it were included as a dofollow link it would be gold SEO-wise. But even if just the name of it were mentioned it would help. Lots of people would find the site and have a look. As a result you'd have a good chance of scoring one or more links from local bloggers or even other news sites.
But getting that kind of free publicity would be difficult unless you had an already well known business in a niche that lent itself to such coverage such as entertainment or event management. You'd probably have better luck with smaller, local newspapers such as those published by the Community Newspaper Group. A link from one of their online editions would would be very valuable.
The trick would be to make what you do newsworthy somehow. Say you had a cafe. You could hold some sort of event in it such as a coffee appreciation class. You could teach people about different blends, and give away some freebies. That's just the kind of thing a local, community journo might find interesting.
You could just e-mail the editor to try and get the paper's interest. Or you could use Twitter. Considering how much journos love to tweet you could jot down some of their names from your local paper and search for them on the site. You'd be sure to find a few sooner or later.
After building some rapport with them you could mention or even direct message them about your idea. (But I wouldn't DM them too early. They'd probably just ignore you if they didn't know who you were.) Even if they didn't go for your first attempt, you would have made connections that may well bear fruit further down the track.