4655.0 - Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts, 2014 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 03/04/2014  First Issue
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3 April 2014
Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

Australia's natural capital reaches $4,826 billion

The total value of Australia's environmental assets or natural capital was $4,826 billion at 30 June 2013, almost double the value of $2,457 billion in 2004, according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Dr Michael Vardon, Director of the ABS Centre for Environment Statistics said "Australia has extremely valuable natural capital, made up of land, mineral, energy and timber resources. We are not able to value everything in the environment at this stage, but what we can value is still very large".

"Land makes up 80 per cent of the value of Australia’s environmental assets and was valued at $3,873 billion at 30 June 2013.

"Natural capital is only one factor when considering the interactions between the environment and economy. There are some positive trends in how Australians have responded to environmental pressures while maintaining economic growth, but the news is mixed.

"Water consumption has dropped significantly between 1996-97 and 2011-12 and at the same time the economy grew by 66 per cent.

"While we have been watching our water consumption, greenhouse gas emissions have also fallen. The bad news is that waste generated in Australia grew at a much faster rate than the economy, with waste increasing by 247 per cent between 1996-97 and 2011-12.

"We also saw a growth of 22 per cent in the energy used in the Australian economy during this period, but this was at a slower rate than the economy and so energy intensity has fallen which is a positive sign," said Dr Vardon.

The Australian Environmental-Economic Accounts is a first release publication reporting on Australia’s environment and its relationship with the economy.

Further details can be found in Australian Environmental Economic Accounts, 2014 (cat no. 4655.0), available for free download from the ABS website www.abs.gov.au

Media note:
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • Media requests and interviews - contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070.