The release of the Deloitte Access Economics Report* today confirms the value of Australia's liveable cities and beaches, valuing Sydney beaches at $1.2 billion per annum. The Report is the first of its kind in evaluating water’s contribution to Australia’s liveable cities. It confirms what we knew: Australia's liveable cities and beach lifestyle is iconic all over the world and our beach access is the envy of the world.

Tourism Australia’s research shows that Australia’s key tourism drawcards includes beaches where up to 70 per cent of international visitors make a visit to the beach, and beaches consistently rank first as one of the most appealing attractions in Australia.

Even more compelling is that good water quality and clean beaches, as demonstrated by the implementation of the Deep Ocean Outfall program, enhances capital uplift of properties, up to $350,000 for those properties in suburbs close to the beaches in the Report.

Importantly, this Report identifies opportunities for capital uplift for any improved waterway that connects people, provides amenity and beauty and uplifts the local economy. Studies from around Australia show that improving bays, creeks, rivers and providing water to create green spaces also leads to capital uplift.

Clean waterways have multiple benefits: better health (physical and mental), increased capital value; increased profitability of local businesses; reinforced iconic value (even for non users); and increased biodiversity of marine life.  Surprisingly 60 per cent of non-users (people who hadn’t visited a beach in the past 12 months) valued clean water and beaches because of the iconic value they provide to the city.

It is important to determine the role of clean water and beaches to our liveable cities because they contribute to our global competitiveness. Competition for international talent and investment relies on many things, including creating cities and places that people love to live in and value their surrounds. This Report shows that a significant proportion of recent immigrants (11 per cent) specifically nominate clean beaches as a priority issue as they consider Sydney as a city to move to. The same can probably said for Perth and the Gold Coast, right around the country our beaches are iconic.

This Report strongly aligns with the Federal Government’s Smart Cities Plan but highlights further area for improvement. While there has been a leap in improvement in water quality at our beaches, WSAA continues to advocate for better integration of stormwater management and improved coordination of infrastructure planning and delivery across the four essential services sectors of transport, energy, water and telecommunications. WSAA believes that realising these improvements will only increase the value to our beaches and waterways, escalating our attractiveness in the knowledge economy and increasing value to property.

* Deloitte Access Economics Report: Economic and social value of improved water quality at Sydney’s coastal beaches 2016

12 Sep 2016

Sandi Kolbe

Sandi Kolbe

Communications Manager