Great Barrier Reef is worth USD 56 million

The Great Barrier Reef is a natural, social and economic asset worth USD 56 million and is therefore “priceless and irreplaceable”, says a new study.  

A new report has calculated Australia’s Great Barrier Reef to be worth USD 56 billion as an economic, social and iconic natural asset.

The Great Barrier Reef also generated USD 6.4 billion economic value added to the Australian economy in 2015 to 2016 and created 64,000 jobs nationally.

“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,” said Great Barrier Reef Foundation Director Steve Sargent in a statement.

He added: “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.”

The Deloitte Access Economics report also confirmed that no single Australian natural asset contributes as much in terms of brand and iconic value to international perceptions of ‘Brand Australia’. The Reef is valued at more than 12 Sydney Opera Houses.

The report calculated the Reef’s total economic, social and icon value by adding the benefits accrued by those who directly use the Great Barrier Reef – for recreation, fishing or science – and the value attributed by people for its existence, its iconic stature or so it can be there for future generations.

It included a survey of 1,500 Australian and international respondents. Two-thirds of the survey respondents were prepared to pay to protect the Reef, based on its importance to the planet, a belief that future generations should be able to visit it and its importance to biodiversity.

Deloitte Access Economics partner and lead report author John O’Mahony said: “Of course it’s priceless and irreplaceable, but we’ve been able to look at it as an ‘asset’ that has incredible value on multiple fronts – from its biodiversity and job creating potential to its support for critical industries and standing among international visitors to Australia, and even those who have never been there.

“With the Reef under threat, our report is a major step in looking to value nature’s significance in monetary terms and using this information to help inform what we do to protect and save important natural assets.”

Photo credit: Lock The Gate Alliance/ CC BY 2.0

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