28th June 2017
According to a Deloitte Access Economics report commissioned by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, the Great Barrier Reef is worth $56 billion. As one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the largest living structure on Earth, the Great Barrier Reef is visible from outer space and is considered part of the country’s cultural DNA. The $56 billion price tag demonstrates the global value of this Australian national treasure as well as its economic importance to Australia.
Considered the heart and soul of Australia’s ‘brand’, the 2300km-long coral system is a biological marvel, a food source and a large part of the nation’s spiritual identity. The $56 billion valuation roughly equates to the cost of Australia’s newest fleet of submarines or 12 Sydney Opera Houses. The 90-page special report also found that the reef contributes $6.4 billion to the Australian economy and is one of the biggest full-time ‘employers’ in the country.
Supporting a whopping 64,000 jobs, the reef employs more individuals that some of the country’s biggest corporate giants including Qantas, Telstra and National Australia Bank. Almost 75 per cent of Australians and more than 50% of international respondents considered the Great Barrier Reef to be an iconic Australian UNESCO World Heritage natural site. Two thirds of all respondents valued the Reef’s welfare so much that they said they were willing to pay to protect it. In fact, more than 50 per cent of Australians said they would be willing to pay a ‘reef tax’ of around $1.30 a week in order to protect the reef and help save it for future generations.
Great Barrier Reef holidays are the top contributor to the reef’s asset value with $29 billion attributed to the tourism industry. Brand value closely followed at $24 billion, which attributes indirect value such as people who know about the reef but have not yet visited – measuring further economic potential.
Great Barrier Reef Foundation director Steve Sargent said the report revealed some big numbers that really highlighted the reef’s contribution to the national economy.
"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.
"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" he said.