$56 billion – that’s the value of the Great Barrier Reef as calculated by the Deloitte Access Economics report published today; a value calculated by assessing its economic, social and iconic brand values.
The report, commissioned by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, with support from National Australia Bank and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, is the first time that the World Heritage site’s economic, social and iconic brand value has been assessed together in the one study.
Most Australians, especially those in the tourism industry, already understand the value of the Great Barrier Reef. It is the natural asset that contributes most powerfully to BRAND AUSTRALIA.
Here are the big numbers to come out of the report:
- The Great Barrier Reef is valued at $56 billion;
- It added $6.4 billion to Australia’s economy in the 2015-16 financial year;
- $3.9 billion of that was added to Queensland’s economy;
- It employs 64,000 Australians — 39,000 directly and a further 25,000 indirectly.
If it was a company, the Reef’s $6.4 billion annual contribution to the Australian economy would make it one of the 100 most profitable in Australia.
- It’s a larger employer than Qantas, Telstra and the National Australia Bank – it directly employs DOUBLE the number of people employed by the Australian oil and gas extraction industry.
- The reef outstrips the total income of many small countries, including Greenland, Fiji and Vanuatu
- It’s 12 times more valuable than the Sydney Opera House.
Imagine if the NSW Government let the Opera House fall into wreck and ruin. There would be outrage! Now multiply that by 12. But actually, the Reef is priceless. We could rebuild the Opera House. We can’t rebuild the Reef.
The report also looked at what would happen to Australia’s tourism industry if the current degradation of the reef continued, as predicted under a “business as usual” scenario. It calculated that 38 percent of tourists would no longer visit, resulting in a $2.1 billion hit to Australia’s tourism industry each year.
Most importantly, the report surveyed the Australian public to find out how important the Reef is to the great Australian public.
Ninety-five percent of the 1500 Australian and international respondents surveyed agreed the Great Barrier Reef is an iconic landmark and makes an important contribution to Australia’s national identity and international standing. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they would be prepared to pay to protect the reef.
The message to government is clear, as Anna Marsden, Managing Director of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation points out:
“The main message that we think the Australian government will take from this report is just how important the Great Barrier Reef is to Australian people. This is the first time a national survey has been conducted to measure how much the Australian public value the Reef and we believe Government will take this seriously.”