Great Barrier Reef valued at $56 billion

IMAGE: Scott Thomas

A NEW Deloitte Access Economics report has calculated the total asset value of the Great Barrier Reef to be $56 billion, assessing the World Heritage site’s economic, social and iconic brand value together in one study for the first time.

In the report commissioned by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation with support from National Australia Bank and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Deloitte Access Economics analysed the Reef’s:

* Economic, social, and iconic value;
* Contribution to the economy through industry value added and employment;
* Brand value to Australia and the international community; and
* Significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owners.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation director Steve Sargent said: “Like the Great Barrier Reef itself, the numbers revealed in the report are big and highlight just how significant the Reef’s contribution to Australia’s economy is:

* $56 billion value as an economic, social, and iconic natural asset;
* $6.4 billion economic value added to the Australian economy in 2015-16;
* $3.9 billion in economic value added to Queensland’s economy in 2015-16;
* $2.9 billion economic value added to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) region in 2015-16; and
* 64,000 jobs nationally linked to the Reef, including 33,000 in Queensland.”

“At $29 billion, tourism is the biggest contributor to the Reef’s $56 billion value, followed by $23.8 billion from indirect or non-use value, i.e. those who haven’t yet visited the Reef but value knowing it exists, and its value to recreational users ($3.2 billion) makes up the balance,” Sargent said.

“As the largest living structure on Earth and one of the world’s most complex and diverse natural ecosystems, the Great Barrier Reef is justifiably considered priceless and irreplaceable.

“Alongside its important environmental and ecological function, this report demonstrates that the Reef also offers substantial value to Australia and the world in terms of the economic activity it generates and the employment and experiences it supports across the tourism, fishing, recreation and scientific industries.

“The Reef added $6.4 billion to the national economy in 2015-16 and supported more than 64,000 full time jobs making it a bigger ‘employer’ than many well-known Australian companies including National Australia Bank, Qantas and Telstra.

“The study also confirms that no single Australian natural asset contributes as much in terms of brand and iconic value to international perceptions of ‘Brand Australia’.

“At $56 billion, the Reef is valued at more than 12 Sydney Opera Houses!

“This report sends a clear message that the Great Barrier Reef – as an ecosystem, as an economic driver, as a global treasure – is too big to fail.”

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