Great Barrier Reef’s $56 billion valuation signals Queensland’s fortune
Protecting the Great Barrier Reef and its 64,000 direct and indirect jobs should be a major priority, according to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ).
A new report from Deloitte Access Economics has found the Great Barrier Reef’s value to be $56 billion, more than 12 Sydney Opera Houses, or the cost of building Australia’s new submarine fleet.
Released today, the report examines the economic, social, icon and brand value of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) to gauge the reef’s value to Australians and understand how the international community values it.
CCIQ Senior Policy Advisor Catherine Pham said the biggest win is around the number of jobs that the GBR provides for Queenslanders and Australians.
“With Queensland being the home to this international icon, the 64,000 direct and indirect jobs supported by the GBR signals just how important the health of the reef is to our economy and to businesses which rely on it,” Ms Pham said.
“Put into perspective, this figure is greater than the number of jobs provided by most of Australia’s major banks, and many businesses considered “too big to fail” including the likes of Qantas and Telstra.
“It’s really just as important to make sure we protect these jobs, through protecting our reef, as it is to find ways to grow the employment numbers by sustainably leveraging its unique value proposition.”
Ms Pham said more could be done to market the reef, based on the significance of the GBR from the perspective of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditional owners.
“This will create jobs for the community, tie in nicely to the current tourism offerings we have, and essentially ensure that the industry is moving in line with the consumer’s desire for a more authentic and cultural experience,” she said.
The report found that most of the jobs came from tourist activities, with 92 per cent of Australian jobs supported by the GBR within the tourism industry.
“Undoubtedly the tourism industry would not be the powerhouse it is here in Queensland, if it weren’t for the reef,” Ms Pham said.
“Millions of visitors each year flock to the GBR, with the number of visitors staying in the region generally increasing year on year for the past decade.”
The report found that the total value of the significant tourist activity associated with the GBR in 2015-16 is estimated to contribute around $5.7 billion to the Australian economy, of which $3.4 billion is Queensland’s share.
“With 50 per cent of visitors going to the region to holiday, and a further 22 per cent there to visit friends and relatives, Queensland businesses which service these visitors have certainly been the major beneficiaries of the growing spend,” she said.
“If we look specifically at just the GBR regions, their portion of the total value from the tourism activity is $2.4 billion, a figure that would be near impossible to replace for these regions if the GBR were to no longer exist.”
Ms Pham believes that while there have been substantial improvements in policies around the protection of the reef, the report reinforces that more should be done to ensure it remains there for future generations.
“As the report so rightly states, the reef is the natural asset contributing most powerfully to Australia’s global brand.
“Now knowing the true value of the reef, perhaps it will make it somewhat easier for the Federal and State Government to increase funding and protection efforts to ensure that $56 billion figure grows instead of declines.
“Businesses in central and north Queensland understand very well what the health of the reef means for them.
“We know negative reports about the health of the reef have a ripple effect on the bottom line, impacting many tourism businesses in the region and businesses that rely on a strong Australian branding, particularly around our strong environmental credentials.”