The Great Barrier Reef has been given a monetary value for the first time. The company Deloitte Access Economics has put a value on one of nature's most spectacular wonders. Deloitte's report valued the reef at US$42.5 billion, and a worth of US$4.9 billion a year to the Australian economy. The reef supports 64,000 full-time jobs in tourism, fishing, recreation and research. This is over three times more than those employed by Australia's national airline. The report says: "The livelihoods…the reef supports across Australia far exceeds the numbers supported by many industries."
Putting a value on the World Heritage-listed reef is one way to conserve it for future generations. People will look after the reef better if they know how valuable it is. Deloitte said the reef is worth "more than 12 Sydney Opera Houses". However, the reef is in danger. Global warming is bleaching and killing the coral. A local businessman said it was "astounding" that a value was put on the reef. He questioned why people needed to talk about, "it in terms of money". He said: "We have a social conscience to look after the Great Barrier Reef." He hoped that would help motivate politicians.