At What Price?

Need a reason to save the Great Barrier Reef?

How about 56 billion of them?

What is it worth?

It’s renowned as the world’s largest living thing … but of Australia’s celebrated natural assets, the Great Barrier Reef is also the biggest contributor to our national economy and our international brand.

Putting a price on it might seem impossible, given the Reef’s irreplaceable beauty and biodiversity. Of course it’s invaluable on so many levels, but identifying its value can help an appreciation of its importance, and shape thinking and policy around its future.

In a world first, a new Deloitte Access Economics report, for the Great Barrier Reef Foundation (with support from National Australia Bank and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority) calculates the total economic, social and icon asset value of the Reef.

And the number is $56 billion. That’s a lot of reasons to think very carefully about the Reef’s future.

“This timely report is a much needed, holistic view of the incredible economic value and opportunities provided by the Great Barrier Reef. Any failure to protect this indispensable natural resource would have profound impacts not only to Australia but around the world.” – Al Gore

As the planet’s largest living structure and one of the world’s most complex and diverse natural ecosystems, the Great Barrier Reef is justifiably considered both priceless and irreplaceable. But what is it worth?

The value of the Reef: a two minute snapshot

Total economic, social and icon value to Australia

The Great Barrier Reef has a economic, social and icon asset value of $56 billion. It supports 64,000 jobs and contributes $6.4 billion to the Australian economy.

While tourism is the biggest contributor to the total asset value at $29 billion, the economic value of the reef due to domestic recreation is $3 billion!

Economic Contribution - Recreation

Overall, the Great Barrier Reef contributed $6.4 billion in value added to the Australian economy in 2015–16 and supported 64,000 jobs. Recreation contributed $346M and supported 3281 jobs (refer Pages 26 & 71)

Putting that into perspective!

The Great Barrier Reef supports 64,000 jobs across Australia and 39,000 directly – by comparison, the Qantas Group supports 26,000; Telstra 33,000; and the oil & gas extraction industries only 19,000!


Too Big to Fail

The Great Barrier Reef is unequivocally valuable in terms of its contribution to the Australian economy, and its broader economic, social and icon asset value. Australians and the international community alike value the GBR for its significance to our planet, and are willing to pay to support its continued existence and protection … the significance of its contribution to the Australian economy, to jobs and its remarkable value to Australians and the world suggests the Reef should be given even greater priority by all citizens, businesses and levels of government. (Refer page 58)

But more than just getting the policies right and investing wisely, understanding the total value of the Reef shows us what is at stake. And when called on, it is this knowledge that allows us to make it clear that the Great Barrier Reef’s protection is not only an Australian priority, or an international one – it is a human one.

Please note:
This report was prepared for the use of The Great Barrier Reef Foundation for the purpose of calculating the economic, social and icon value of the Great Barrier Reef.

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