The 'Copper Coast' is a special place in which to live, conduct business and to visit. Our populations - permanent and visitors - continue to grow, particularly on the Spencer Gulf coast. Development growth is strong and at unprecedented levels as people seek to enjoy our relaxed life-styles. This growth is attracted by the assets of the magnificent beaches and water based recreation opportunities that, together with our colonial mining heritage, are to be enjoyed in our Mediterranean climate.
It is reasonable to say that the Copper Coast has and will continue its leading contribution to the economy and future of South Australia - as it has for the past one hundred and forty years of settlement. The District Council's progressive attitude seeks to ensure that all such development has a steady and sustainable future. Currently, planned residential developments exceed $30 million in value, reflecting a confidence in our future by the private and public sectors of our local economy.
Whilst there are obvious beneficial local employment spin-offs, your elected Council is aware of challenges to the whole community in adapting to the growth and changes to both its population and built environment. For its part, the District Council is seeking to address these challenges through its strategic five-year plan. In so doing, the elected Council is conscious of the need for minimal red tape and a sympathetic business oriented culture within its organisation.
The Council is conscious, too, of a need for practical vision in planning for the Copper Coast 's future built and natural environments - as well as balancing the social development needs of the disparate communities involved. Those needs are reflected in the ongoing funding budgets for ensuring the provision of both services and facilities that accurately reflect the needs of our communities. I applaud the diligence in decision making by both elected members of the Council and the District Council staff in their tasks.
The Copper Coast is seizing an opportunity in healthy living and life-styles. The Council recognises that a predominantly ageing population, both immigrant and native-born, is creating what might be termed a 'grey economy'. Thus, local health and aged care facilities are growing and providing standards of services that were only dreamt of a quarter century ago. As one of eight designated 'learning communities' in Australia, the Copper Coast is supportive of excellent facilities providing opportunities for life long learning for all age groups.
Unemployment continues, however, to be an issue of concern - with local youth unemployment continuing at levels of national recognition. Your elected Council is committed to the future well-being of young people in the community. As a community, we need to encourage and nurture their abilities to find their niches in life. The Council has implemented a Youth Advisory committee, with representation by young people who come together to discuss issues that impact on their lives. This is working well; it is refreshing to hear of new ideas and their approach to 'thinking outside the square'.
By working with the wide range of talents of numerous volunteers, the Council also seeks to achieve community goals on all levels, for the benefit of all those concerned. Festivals and events remain high on our list to maintain, to develop and for exploring new opportunities. The immense benefits of these events, largely involving community volunteers, should not ever be under-estimated in regional communities. Not only do they generate a quick burst of good old-fashioned cash flow into the local communities - they also nurture spirit and pride from within our communities. Thus, volunteers continue to provide a backbone to rural communities.
The District Council of the Copper Coast is the envy of many local government authorities in South Australia. We are keen to encourage new development, expand our existing facilities and provide a positive environment that is palpable to all. Indeed, a place we are so proud to call home!