Australia's natural capital valued at $6.4 billion

The total value of Australia's environmental assets, or natural capital, was $6.4 billion at 30 June 2017, nearly double the value of $3.3 billion in 2006-07 and an increase of ten per cent from 2015-16, according to a report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

This compares with Australia's produced capital, which was valued at $5,943.4b in 2016-17, an increase of 4% on 2015-16. ABS Director of Environment and Agricultural Statistics, Lauren Binns, said that Australia's land, mineral, energy and timber resources added up to a high value of natural capital. "The ABS Australian Environmental-Economic Account is a comprehensive look at our country's environment and its relationship with the economy," Ms Binns said. "In 2016-17, land accounted for 90 per cent of the total value of Australia's environmental assets and its value continued to grow at a faster rate than the other environmental assets (mineral, energy and timber), with a 12 per cent increase from 2015-16. "However, natural capital is only one factor when considering the interactions between the environment and economy. This account also notes some positive trends in how Australians have responded to environmental pressures while maintaining economic growth. "Since 2006-07, Australia's economy has grown by 28 per cent and the population by 16 per cent, while greenhouse gas emissions dropped 13 per cent, and water consumption fell two per cent between 2006-07 and 2015-16. So in some respects Australia is using resources more efficiently. "Over the same period, Australian energy consumption increased six per cent, which was a much slower rate than both economic and population growth, while waste generation went up 23 per cent (up to 2014-15)." The 2018 edition of Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts is the fifth release of this publication reporting on Australia’s environment and its relationship with the economy. Further details can be found in Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts, 2018 (cat. no. 4655.0)

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