February 9, 2024
Former real estate agent – and jockey – Deb Dennien is the latest candidate to nominate for a South Burnett Regional Council role in the upcoming election.
Deb has nominated to contest Division 4, the Kingaroy division currently held by Cr Kirstie Schumacher who is vacating the position to run for mayor.
It’s not the first time Deb has shown an interest in running for Council; she tossed her hat in the ring in 2016 in a five-way contest which was ultimately won by Cr Danita Potter.
Deb secured just over 20 per cent of the vote that time around.
She told southburnett.com.au she had not really considered standing again until someone rang her recently and asked if she was planning to run.
Deb thought about the reasons why she had run in 2016, and realised nothing had changed.
“I am still passionate about the community, I still think one of the biggest things we need is that real community engagement so that people feel that Council is listening to them,” she said.
“What priorities do the people in Kingaroy have? Where do they see the future?
“It is a strategic role in Council, not operational. We should be looking at where we are going.”
Deb said the South Burnett had a lot to be thankful for, including Swickers, the mine, and now a new hospital “but we have to capitalise on that” with strategic planning.
Funding for roads would be a key issue for the new Council.
But there were big changes ahead for the SBRC with the decision by three sitting councillors to vie for mayor.
“We will be losing a lot of experience in the area,” she said.
“It will be a big learning curve for the new people.”
Deb originally moved to the South Burnett in the 1980s to become an apprentice jockey at Wondai after racing was opened to female riders.
She stayed, got married and raised four children here.
After her riding career finished, Deb worked for 15 years for Meals On Wheels as a support for the various committees across southern Queensland.
This role required a lot of travelling, but also meant she had to engage with volunteer committees and strategic planning.
Along the way she also opened her own real estate business as well as working part-time for the Public Guardian as a community visitor, assisting children in foster care.
Deb said she was keen to speak to more Division 4 residents to find out what worried them but she already knew they were concerned about roads, footpaths, the Council Budget and water security.
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