The Great Barrier Reef has been valued for the first time. The company Deloitte Access Economics has put a figure on one of nature's most spectacular wonders. It valued the reef at US$42.5 billion, and said it was worth US$4.9 billion a year to Australia's economy. The reef supports 64,000 full-time jobs in tourism, fishing, recreation and research. This is much more than Australia's national airline and many other major businesses employ.
Putting a value on the World Heritage-listed reef may help to conserve it. People will look after it better if they know how valuable it is. Deloitte said the reef is worth "more than 12 Sydney Opera Houses". A local businessman said it was "astounding" that a value was put on the reef. He questioned why people needed to link the reef with money. He said: "We have a social conscience to look after the Great Barrier Reef."