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The value of Australian seabed mapping data to the blue economy

Deloitte Access Economics has found seabed mapping data directly contributed $9 billion to the Australian economy and employed over 56,000 FTEs in 2018-19.

Seabed mapping data is essential to the establishment and operation of many marine industries that significantly contribute to Australia’s economic growth. In order to showcase the value of this data to the Australian economy, Deloitte Access Economics was commissioned by Geoscience Australia to analyse the role of seabed mapping in the Australian economy, including its supply chain and employment effects.

Seabed mapping data enables economic activity in commercial fishing, tourism, national defence, water transport, oil exploration, search and rescue, and marine research and environmental protection by using the data for navigation, exploration, and research. The application of this data in these fields directly contributed $9 billion to the Australian economy and employed over 56,000 FTEs in 2018-19. This direct contribution is larger than the size of the rental and hiring services sector.

Australia’s blue economy is an area with strong potential for economic growth; however, three quarters of the Australian seabed is yet to be mapped to an adequate resolution to assist businesses and governments in decision making. This data deficit is constraining economic activity and should be addressed to enable Australia's blue economy to thrive.

To assist in filling this gap and opening up the availability of collected data to end-users, Australian seabed mapping stakeholders have identified the need for a national mapping program, to centrally manage and distribute existing and new seabed mapping data products.

As new high-resolution data becomes available, it is expected to  unlock new activity as end-users can effectively plan and strategise around this new fundamental information – highlighting seabed mapping data as a key to the future growth of the blue economy.

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