State member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders talks to media.
State member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders talks to media. Alistair Brightman

'We have the power': MP says M'boro can support industry

BRUCE Saunders has pledged Maryborough will have the electricity to power the city's manufacturing future.

It comes as the man bringing the $60million munitions factory to the Heritage City called on the State Government to hold up its end of the bargain amid concerns of power supply shortages.

Rob Nioa, Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions deputy chairman, told the Chronicle when his company first looked at investing in Maryborough in October last year, he was assured by Mr Saunders there was sufficient power on the Heritage City's current grid for the factory.

The Chronicle understands this assurance was again given as recently as two weeks ago when Rheinmetall's global chief Armin Papperger visited the Maryborough site.

This week it emerged Maryborough may have as little as one megawatt of remaining available electricity, sparking concerns there would be a power shortage for future manufacturing projects in the region.

When asked about this on Wednesday, Mr Saunders said he was not aware of any power issues in the Heritage City.

Speaking to the Chronicle yesterday, Mr Saunders said Maryborough would have enough power to meet the factory's needs.

"The information I was given about the supply was that it was adequate in Maryborough to look after that factory," he said.

Mr Nioa yesterday said the factory plans were proceeding on the basis of Mr Saunders' assurances.

"We're looking forward to finalising the planning phase and cracking on with the project," Mr Nioa said.

"I have every confidence in the State Government and Mr Saunders holding up their end of the bargain."

Ergon has yet to say whether there is in fact enough power to supply the factory and other major manufacturing projects in the coming years.

However, the energy regulator previously told the Chronicle it was working with RNM on its energy needs and had not identified any network capacity issues that would impact normal customer connections.