TALKING POLITICS: State member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders with state ministers Grace Grace and Leeanne Enoch.
TALKING POLITICS: State member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders with state ministers Grace Grace and Leeanne Enoch. Alistair Brightman

M'boro power supply concerns 'a furphy', Saunders claims

BRUCE Saunders has dismissed concerns about power supply shortages in the Heritage City as a "furphy" designed to frighten people.

His comments follow ongoing fears that Maryborough's electrical grid will not be able to handle the needs of the city's rapidly-expanding industrial sector.

The Chronicle previously revealed the city may have as little as one megawatt of remaining available electricity on its grid, which could lead to shortages for future manufacturing projects in the region, including Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions' new $60 million factory.

Mr Saunders has repeatedly said Ergon Energy, the state's electrical supplier, had guaranteed there would be enough power for the factory.

In a press conference with Education Minister Grace Grace and Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch yesterday, he said the concerns were nothing more than a "furphy" that were "frightening people".

"There is so much power here it's unbelievable," Mr Saunders said.

"We have got adequate power to do the munitions factory, Hyne expansion and Downer expansion.

"I don't know where this furphy is coming from... I've been constantly in contact with Ergon (and) engineers."

Ergon Energy has not identified any network capacity issues for the Maryborough region that would impact normal customer connections and is still working with RNM on its energy needs.

Ms Grace and Ms Enoch will visit Maryborough next month as part of the State Government's Regional Community Forum, listening to concerns from Wide Bay residents.

Asked what the State Government was doing to ensure there was adequate supply to support future industries, Ms Grace said it was investing in infrastructure ranging from schools to tourism to ensure "the area was sustainable in those jobs".

"If there's an issue with water or power or whatever it may be, they're the ones we want to unblock, get addressed and get them moving straight away," Ms Grace said.

Ms Grace pointed to a major $12 million investment at Maryborough State High School to "change the way the school operates".

"We're investing big time in education throughout the Wide Bay and Fraser Coast, such as a new hall at Hervey Bay State High School," she said.