The Value of the Great Barrier Reef?
$56 billion – that’s the total 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 together.
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.
But let’s face it: the Great Barrier Reef is the single natural asset that contributes most powerfully to Australia’s global brand. It provides employment to 39,000 people directly (64,000 indirectly), and contributes $6.4 billion per year to the national economy. This is how it would compare if it were a corporation.
It’s considered 12 times more valuable than the Sydney Opera House. Imagine if the NSW Govt let the Opera House fall into wreck and ruin. There would be OUTRAGE! Now multiply that by 12. That’s how outraged we should be right now by our governments’ (Federal and Queensland) collective lack of progress on the real issues.
Economists can put a price on our Reef, and even at $56 billion, 12 times the value of Sydney Opera House, that’s high. But the difference is, we could rebuild the Opera House – but we can’t rebuild our Reef – it’s too complex and so much else depends upon it. So really, even that comparison fails us.
Most importantly, the report surveyed the Australian public to find out how important the Reef is to the great Australian public. 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.”
Our Great Barrier Reef is priceless. It’s part of who we are.
Diveplanit recently interviewed six experts intimately involved in the Great Barrier Reef – here’s a two minute summary of the findings.
A World Without the Great Barrier Reef?
So, imagine a world without the Great Barrier Reef. You can’t. But unless we do something now, it’s a reality our grandchildren could be living with.
The question for our duly elected representatives is: What will you do differently now?
We’ve heard the same message from GBRMPA and others close to the Reef since the first 2009 GBRMPA Outlook Report, echoed again in the 2014 Outlook Report (verbatim)
“In 2009, the Great Barrier Reef was considered to be at a crossroads, with decisions made in subsequent years likely to determine its long-term future. …
“Notwithstanding positive actions since 2009, the greatest risks to the Great Barrier Reef have not changed.
Climate change, poor water quality from land-based run-off, impacts from coastal development, and some remaining impacts of fishing remain the major threats to the future vitality of the Great Barrier Reef.”
The way we’ve been going, the 2019 Outlook Report will likely simply echo what’s gone before. We need change.
The biggest threat: Climate Change
Our governments changed tack following the 2014 Report and decided, with The Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan (March 2013), to focus mainly on water quality, though it is acknowledged that climate change is the biggest threat to the Reef; and it is widely known now that water quality has little impact on whether the Reef will be damaged by bleaching i.e., unpolluted reefs bleach to the same extent as polluted reefs.
The Australian public has spoken
Surely now this assessment and survey reveals just how important the Great Barrier Reef is to the Australian people and confirms that we need to rule out new coal and move to low carbon alternatives?
We eagerly await the governments’ response…