Great Barrier Reef worth A$56bn, report finds

Great Barrier Reef worth A$56bn, report finds”

Great Barrier Reef in Australia has been valued at $56 billion with a warning of vast economic consequences for the country if no concrete steps are taken to save it.

The Deloitte Access Economics report has revealed the value of the reef is $56 billion, while annually it injects $6.4 billion into the economy and underpins 64,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Using economic modelling, it said the reef - bigger than Britain, Switzerland and the Netherlands combined - was worth Aus$29 billion to tourism, supporting 64,000 jobs.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation director Steve Sargent told The Sydney Morning Herald that no other Australian asset contributed as much value to the nation's brand.

But it ascribes nearly as much - $24 billion - to Australians who are yet to see it, but value knowing that it exists.

"Two consecutive years of global coral bleaching are unprecedented, while increasingly frequent extreme weather events and water quality issues continue to affect reef health", said Dr John Schubert AO, Chair of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

The study, based on six months of analysis, included a survey of 1,500 Australian and global respondents from 10 countries.

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"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 worldwide visitors to Australia", said John O'Mahoney, the lead author of the report.

Deloitte Access Economics calculated the figure on the reef's total "economic, social and icon value".

"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".

Australia hosted a summit of more than 70 of the world's leading marine experts last month to develop a plan on how best to handle the problems facing the reef.

AAP is seeking comment from federal environment minister Josh Frydenberg.

By comparison, Adani's planned Carmichael coal mine project and its associated infrastructure has been valued at $21.7 billion, with the Indian miner forecasting 10,000 direct and indirect jobs.

The report does not include quantified estimates of the value traditional owners place on the Great Barrier Reef and it said governments should consider doing more to protect it.

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