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I am writing to you as a constituent who is concerned about the health of our Top End coasts.

I want to draw your attention to a new report authored by some of Australia’s leading economists, Economic Values of the Northern Territory Marine and Coastal Environments, which shows our coastal Territory waters support more than 6,000 jobs and contributes $2 billion annually to the NT economy.

The health of our coasts is too valuable to risk, and I urge the Gunner Government to ensure the Coastal and Marine Management Strategy will properly protect our coasts into the future.

The report finds that - 

  • Marine and coastal tourism makes the biggest contribution to the economy ($691m/yr), supporting over 5,500 jobs.

  • The value of mangroves, seagrasses and tidal saltmarshes for the NT coastal waters is estimated at $65m/yr.

  • Although in many regards they are priceless, Indigenous cultural values are worth about $52.5m - $412m annually. 

  • Recreational fishing is estimated to have direct economic value of $21.3m annually, total contribution worth about $76m annually.

These are the values that could be lost if the region’s coasts and seas are not given the management and protection they deserve. Recreational and commercial fishing, aquaculture and fishing tourism are all reliant on the continuing good health of coasts and seas and are important economic drivers in the Top End.

On the whole, the Top End’s coasts and seas remain in very good condition. Yet, without improved protection and management, the Top End is at risk of the degradation seen in southern and eastern Australia. The health of our coasts is too valuable to risk, and we need a Plan that will properly protect our coasts into the future.

In the words of one of authors of this new report, Professor Bob Costanza, Chair of Public Policy at Australian National University: “The Northern Territory has the opportunity to make better decisions by recognising the full value of its marine and coastal ecosystems.”

This is an opportunity that will greatly benefit our Top End communities, lifestyle, livelihoods and economy.

The report can be downloaded at topendcoasts.org.au/resources.

I look forward to your response.