Cr Kathy Duff is betting she can win the Mayoralty in 2024 despite a hotly contested field

October 30, 2023

Division 5 councillor Kathy Duff announced on social media on Monday night she will run for Mayor of the South Burnett Regional Council.

The Boondooma grazier, and a former executive officer of the LNP’s Nanango Electorate Council, has served on the SBRC since amalgamation, including a term as Deputy Mayor.

Prior to that she served on Wondai Shire Council.

Cr Duff’s announcement was greeted by almost 300 “likes” on Facebook, including by former SBRC councillor Ros Heit and LNP Federal MPs Llew O’Brien and Colin Boyce.

It also confirmed media reports that current Mayor Brett Otto – who has been on paid medical leave since June 21 – would not be recontesting the March poll.

Cr Duff – who is possibly best know as “the lady in pink” – said she was humbled to have Mayor Otto’s support.

The pair have enjoyed a close working relationship during this Council term, often moving and seconding each other’s motions in a bloc obvious to observers.

The Duff and Otto families also share interests in thoroughbred racehorses and Council records from August showed Cr Duff had made a loan to Otto Racing.

Cr Duff’s ambition to stand for mayor has been the South Burnett’s worst kept secret for months.

On Friday, she stated she would make no announcement until Mayor Otto had made his intentions clear.

“Our ratepayers have been met with increasing rates and in many cases, less services. I am ready to lead a council that spends the ratepayer’s money like it’s their own,” the announcement said.

“For the last 20 years, I have served as Wondai Shire Councillor, Councillor for Division 5, your South Burnett Deputy Mayor and have travelled over one million kilometres serving our community.

“I have the time, energy and passion to serve our community as your Mayor.”

Cr Duff said she was committed to a five-point plan:

1. Reduce Council waste for affordable rates
2. Fix the roads, potholes and drains
3. Bring Council depots back to the towns and restore local pride
4. Cut red tape to give businesses a break
5. Keep Council Divisions to support community decisions

“I have mentioned my plan about returning local depots and local jobs and people get excited,” she said.

“The community are asking for better roads and they want potholes fixed instead of being circled, they want less red tape and a customer-focused Council.”

Cr Kirstie Schumacher and South Burnett Peace Of Mind founder Rhonda Trivett have also announced their intentions to run for mayor.

One other SBRC councillor is also expected to toss their hat into the ring for the contest.

Should all three sitting councillors run for Mayor, three vacancies will be left in Council at a Divisional level.

Murgon Rotary Club president Heath Sander, co-chair of the Murgon Music Muster organising committee, announced late last year he intended to challenge Cr Duff for Division 5.

Related articles:

[UPDATED with correction]


8 Responses to "Kathy To Run For Mayor"

  1. We went through the 2020 elections with now-incumbent Mayor Brett Otto making declarations about cost savings and attracting government grants from George Street and Canberra. He drove his own car and said he would give away $20,000 of his salary each year to save ratepayer dollars. Did this happen?

    Cr Duff is now making similar claims in her election pitch. She says she will reduce council waste for affordable rates. My question is: How? She also says she will cut red tape to give businesses a break. Again, my question is: How?These claims are easy to make, but require further information for ratepayers to understand.

    Politicians will say anything to get elected. We need to drill down to the nitty gritty of statements not just accept glib words rolling off the tongues of potential wannabes.

    May I respectfully ask Cr Duff to explain how she hopes to enable the outcomes she says she wants to achieve? Then we can all assess if she is for real and if her promises are achievable.

  2. Mal Gilmour, I’m sure Kathy will reveal all in the weeks coming up to the election next year. She has just taken the opportunity to announce that she is running.

    By the looks of her statement she has done a lot of thinking about the type of council she wants to lead and has simply outlined some important items from her perspective.

    In the meantime, just breathe. There’s over four months to go.

    Oh, you asked about Mayor Otto; he did use his own car and did donate some of his salary as he said he would.

  3. Looking forward to reading your comments, Mal, on the article written August 26 2023 on this platform of news about another Mayoral candidates nomination! Will you cut and paste and just edit names I wonder? I think you should. Will be interested to read it.

  4. During this term, Cr Duff and the Mayor have actively worked together to revert the South Burnett to pre-amalgamation days by fanning unhelpful parochialism.

    It has not gone unnoticed to the many, many thinking locals that their smokescreen of good, unfunded and self-interested intentions was nothing more than a publicity stunt to create an appearance that some councillors were heartless in their representation.

    The Mayor is one vote of seven in the democratic structure of local government.

    It is not evident from the most recent term that this long-term divisional councillor possesses the skills needed to lead a team of seven, let alone the wider community.

    If restoring depots in towns that already have them is a goal, I dread to think what those needing homes and community facilities must think!

    There are just so many more important priorities for the South Burnett than walking back to the past.

  5. In response to the challenge by Lifetime Resident (1/11/23) I’ll pick up the comment from Cr Schumacher when she said “The future of the South Burnett matters to me.”

    She said she “wants to be a part of positive change”. It seems she has worked very independently and has not got caught up in the factions that appear present in the current Council.

    The leader of the next Council needs to look beyond our current circumstances, and not look back to where we came from as unamalgamated Councils.

    Like it or not, times have changed. This appears to be a challenge for Cr Duff to understand. Has she truly accepted that Council amalgamations are for real? They are not going to change.

    We need a Mayor who understand the real issues of cost of living, housing crisis, lack of water security, de-carbonisation and struggles to retain a skilled workforce, not to mention the historic challenges around mental health, access to services and helping our young people to see a future here. We need a Mayor who will explore every opportunity for economic development, irrespective of where that business may locate in the South Burnett.

    We are a regional council, not a council that has to see development occurring in any particular Division.

    These are real matters to improve our overall livability. Whether any Mayor is capable of implementing any change is problematic. The focus, though, is to advocate and truly understand, as it appears does Cr Schumacher.

  6. Mal Gilmour, thank you for the feedback.

    The things you have said are very important to me and very real. Housing, lack of water security, mental health and the cost of living. Local Government has the power to change and deal with certain aspects of all of these.

    I believe we need to get our house in order and then we can start to address some of these issues.

    At the moment, the ratepayers are seeing enormous waste in our Council, they are seeing a Council that seems to be making it difficult for developers with almost like a road block attitude.

    The rayepaters are asking to see potholes fixed instead of being circled.

    I know that our orgnisation can do things better. The plan is to put the depots back in the towns with a full suite of services to create more efficiencies rather than having dual cab white utes driving all over the region with, in many cases, one person in them.

    I want to address these fundamentals first which will save a lot of the waste and then we will have some additional resources where we can start to deal with some of these issues.

    I could use fancy words and make sweeping statements and big promises but I will address those things that we can change and that I know will set a platform where developers will come and those that already have land in the South Burnett will start to develop it to address the housing crisis.

    I have a lot of plans that I know will improve our region immediately. I would love to meet with you to discuss this further. Please call me on 0429-680-225 so we can arrange a meeting.

    Please note these are my personal views only. I respect the democratic process and the majority views of Council.

  7. I would like to know what are your views and plans about the terrible water we have to use in Nanango. I think it’s time something was done about it and it won’t cost millions as one councillor stated. We shouldn’t have to pay for the water until the problem is fixed. If there is a plan to fix the water you will have my vote.

  8. A few questions Kathy:

    1. What is your stance on wind farms in the shire?

    2. Will you lobby for Main Roads to seal the Memerambi-Gordonbrook Rd?

    3. Will you be active in controlling roadside weeds such as lantana before they take hold?

    4. Would you consider approval of uranium mining in the shire?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.