A new report by the Australian financial advisory practice Deloitte Access Economics has shown how much of an impact losing the underwater ecosystem that is the Great Barrier Reef would have on Australia. The report details the economic impact that losing the reef would have on the economy and jobs in one of the world's largest countries.

What did the report detail?

The report by Deloitte Access Economics stated that the Great Barrier Reef is worth $56 billion Australian Dollars ($42 billion). It also found that the reef contributes $6.4 billion Australian Dollars ($4.88 billion) to the economy of Australia every year, while also directly support a total of 64,000 jobs either directly or indirectly.

The report, which was done for the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, says that "the reef is critical to supporting economic activity and jobs in Australia." It argued that with the 39,000 jobs it supports directly, and the economic contribution it makes, it's a bigger "employer" than many large Australian companies that would be considered "too big to fail."

The reef, climate change, and a new mega coalmine

The report also warned that much of the Great Barrier Reef could be at risk of destruction without increased protection efforts in the face of climate change, poor water quality, and continued mass coral bleaching events. This all comes at a time when various environmental groups in Australia have campaigned against a new mega coalmine run by the Adani Group in the state of Queensland.

Environmental groups have argued that the coal from this mine would directly fuel climate change, one of the major threats to the survival of the Great Barrier Reef. In contrast, the energy and environmental minister Josh Frydenberg has argued that Australia's coal is cleaner than other sources. He also said that the economy would be losing out on billions of dollars and that someone else would sell the coal to India if Australia did not.

What is the Great Barrier Reef?

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system on Earth, found in the Coral Sea just off the coast of Queensland, Australia. It is made up of more than 2,900 separate reefs and 900 islands that cover an area that is about 133,000 square miles (344,400 square kilometers) in size. The reef supports an abundance of life, including over 1,500 fish species, 6 sea turtle species, 215 bird species, and 400 species of coral. In 1981, the reef was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.