Engineer at inquiry

June 20, 2017

Radio engineer Gary Baker campaigned for the service return of high frequency radio from the defunct Radio Australia during Friday's senate inquiry hearing in Canberra.

A radio engineer from the defunct Radio Australia broadcasting facility at Shepparton has been brought to Federal Parliament to speak to senators about the importance of shortwave.

Gary Baker, who once worked at the facility, has been campaigning for the service to return to the airwaves since it was shut down by the ABC earlier this year.

He issued a submission to a senate inquiry, spearheaded by South Australian senator Nick Xenophon and, on Friday, spoke to senators at a public hearing of the inquiry.

‘‘It seems like the evidence is there to keep HF (high frequency) radio going into the Pacific from out of Shepparton,’’ Mr Baker said.

The Shepparton shortwave broadcasting facility on Verney Rd sent out the Radio Australia broadcast to the Pacific and could be heard by people with special radios across the globe.

Although it could be months before parliament votes on bringing back shortwave, it could be too late, as BAI Communications has put the broadcasting site on the market.

‘‘To rebuild a site like that it would probably cost more than $50million,’’ Mr Baker said.

Mr Xenophon said the ABC representatives who spoke at the inquiry did not have a convincing argument for shutting down the service.

‘‘This has been a very narrow-minded and backwards decision on behalf of the ABC,’’ Mr Xenophon said.

‘‘I’m not giving up on this, it is too big an issue.’’

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