Gold Coast City Councillor Greg Betts is a man on a mission. On top of his hectic schedule of work commitments, he has taken upon himself to enrol in a Master of Urban Planning at Bond University.
“Planning is an important part of my role as Councillor, and I sit on a number of Council Committees that concentrate on town planning and strategic planning. So, besides being a personal interest of mine, studying planning is of clear benefit to me, and to Gold Coast City, as it will help to add a level of informed decision making to the political side of Council,” Mr Betts said.
“My study is giving me a greater understanding of the planning process and also why Council officers make the recommendations that they do.
“All Councillors have skills that they bring to the table as a positive contribution and I would like to add planning to mine,” he said.
Mr Betts said Bond’s focus on urban design and sustainable development particularly grabbed his interest.
“These are certainly areas that need more focus from a political perspective,” he said.
“Planners get it, but the political decision makers are a little bit behind the times - well, let's just say that most don't place a priority on these aspects. I hope to redirect Council’s focus so that urban design and sustainability become a greater priority in planning matters,” Mr Betts said.
He said while he was enjoying learning about the background to the various planning methods that he sees in use at Council, the extra work load was proving a challenge.
“My family is very understanding though, and Bond’s intensive delivery mode and three-semester year is helping to fast-track my studies so I can see the light at the end of the tunnel sooner,” he said.
Despite his demanding schedule, Mr Betts has managed to achieve highly in the subjects he has completed so far, even being awarded the First in Class prize for Economic and Social Foundations of Planning.
It seems his goal of chairing a committee in the next Council term is well within reach.
“In such a leadership role I will be able to have more influence in guiding the political will of the Council in a direction that embraces urban design and sustainability with a new vigour,” he said.