The report found that despite the significant efforts of government, business and the community to improve environmental management in SEQ, the condition of critical natural assets is still declining. This includes declining water, air and coastal condition and losses of critical biodiversity, habitat for key species (such as koalas), and losses of open space.
Key drivers of this decline are population growth and the associated economic activity
(e.g. urban development) and climate change.
Declines in the condition of our natural resource asset base are not just an environmental issue. They are an economic issue as:
- many sectors are reliant on the natural resource base to underpin their productivity and value (e.g. primary industries and nature based tourism), and:
- there are significant social values associated with the natural resource base (e.g. we value a healthy environment for our enjoyment and purely for its existence values).
The report found that there are significant risks to several sectors in SEQ attributable to further declines in the condition of our natural resources, particularly for agriculture, nature-based tourism, the recreation industry, and for government service provision (such as health costs, costs of environmental rehabilitation and water treatment).
The social costs of a decline in natural resource condition are very substantial. It is estimated that the social costs could be as high as $5.2 billion between now and 2031.
Ultimately SEQ households will bear these costs and a major survey of SEQ households indicates that the community is prepared to pay to avoid further damage, particularly where actions to reduce the decline in natural resource condition are done effectively and efficiently.
The full report can be found at: www.seqcatchments.com.au