August 26, 2023
It’s been rumoured for almost a year, but it’s now confirmed … Division 4 councillor Kirstie Schumacher will be running for South Burnett Mayor at the 2024 Council election.
Cr Schumacher, who holds the regional development portfolio in the current council, announced her intention to seek the top job in a video released on social media on Saturday.
In a media statement, she said she had “thought long and hard about the opportunity to run for Mayor”.
“The future of the South Burnett matters to me,” Cr Schumacher said.
“I ran for councillor (in 2020) as an everyday community member because I wanted to be part of creating positive change.
“I realise now after three years on the ground that there is a lot more work to do.”
Cr Schumacher won Division 4 – which covers the northern side of Kingaroy – at the 2020 poll against sitting councillor Terry Fleischfresser.
If she is successful in her mayoral bid, she would be the first female mayor in the history of the SBRC, or the pre-amalgamated councils of Murgon, Wondai, Kingaroy and Nanango.
Prior to her election, Cr Schumacher worked as a community relations adviser with Stanwell Corporation at Tarong Power Stations and Meandu Mine and, before that, as a corporate support officer at South Burnett CTC.
After completing a Diploma of Local Government Governance and Administration she worked with the SBRC during the difficult council amalgamation process.
Kirstie and her husband Wayne operate a drilling business as well as raise cattle, peanuts and grain. The couple has two children.
“It is clear to me that our community cares about the wellbeing of our people and the social and financial sustainability of our region,” Cr Schumacher said on Saturday.
“Every day I meet hardworking people who are proud to call the South Burnett home, and yet at the same time they are facing greater challenges than ever before.
“The cost of living, housing crisis, lack of water security, decarbonisation and struggles to retain a skilled workforce are some of the battles we are facing daily; not to mention our historic challenges around mental health, access to services and helping our young people to see a future here.
“I’ve spent time with our kids, grandparents, farmers, new residents, long-time locals and small business owners who are the backbone of our towns and villages.
“I’ve learned they share the same concerns that I do, and they too can see that we have the potential to create an incredible story here in the South Burnett.
“To tell a new story I believe we need courage and collaboration to genuinely listen and work together to solve the complex challenges we face and achieve better outcomes.
“If we believe change is possible, our new story gets to be about who we become together while we create a lasting legacy for our people, our land, our communities.
“I’m running for Mayor, to be the voice and leader that stands with you in creating this new story together,” she said.
In May, disability advocate Rhonda Trivett announced her intention to run for South Burnett Mayor, and there have been rumours that two other current South Burnett councillors may also be weighing up their chances.
Running for mayor is an all-or-nothing gamble for sitting councillors, as they cannot also contest their old Division at the same poll.
Current Mayor Brett Otto, who is on medical leave from Council from July 31 to October 31, has not yet stated whether he intends to re-contest the position.