PRICE TAG PUT ON THE REEF
New report quantifies Barrier Reef
A NEW report valuing the Great Barrier Reef at $56 billion is a positive step forward in conservation of the world’s largest living organism according to Airlie Beach tourist operator and reef advocate, Lindsay Simpson.
Officially launched at Hamilton island on Monday the Deloitte Access Economics report found the reef contributed $6.4 billion to the Australian economy in 2015-16 and the World Heritage listed area supported 64,000 full-time jobs.
The report commissioned by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, with support from the National Bank and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, assessed the reef’s economic, social and iconic value.
Ms Simpson, the owner the yacht Providence which offers a day sail experience around the Whitsunday Islands, said it was “astounding” that the Great Barrier Reef needed to be quantified in a monetary value.
In face of criticism from UNESCO for not being effective custodians of the reef, and Ms Simpson’s belief that the needs of industry were still being prioritised over the welfare of the reef, the valuation was a step in the right direction.
“Yes it’s great that someone has put a value on it but why on earth do we need... to quantify it in terms of money, we have a social conscience to look after the Great Barrier Reef,” Ms Simpson said.
“It’s on our doorstep and we should be looking after it.”
Ms Simpson said the potential loss of a $56 billion asset had the potential to escalate conservation efforts from government.
“It’s good that there has been value put on it and certainly in terms of... a tourism icon that is what the visitors have come to see,” Ms Simpson said.
“If that does motivate our politicians... then that is good.”
The reef’s value as a tourist attraction was the biggest contributor to the reef’s $56 billion value, followed by $23.8 billion from indirect or non-use value (those who haven’t yet visited the reef but value knowing it exists) and $3.2 billion for its value to recreational users.
It is the first time that a natural asset’s brand value has been assessed on its total economic, social and icon value.
The valuation of the Great Barrier Reef comes amid a sustained campaign by environmental groups against Adani’s proposed Carmicheal mine in the Galilee Basin which they say will contribute to climate change, which is the biggest threat to the reef.
The Deloitte Access Economics analysis warns of vast economic consequences unless more is done to protect the reef and included a survey of 1500 Australian and international respondents.
REEF REPORT: The Deloitte Access Economics analysis warns of vast economic consequences unless more is done to protect the Great Barrier Reef.