report by Deloitte Access Economics for the Australian Academy of Science found that for every $1 invested in discovering all Australia’s remaining species will return between $4 and up to $35 worth of benefits to the nation.

This is a first. Putting a dollar value on discovering and documenting Australia’s species has never been attempted in Australia. To date only 30% of the estimated 750,000 species of Australia’s rich biodiversity has been named and documented.

Australian Academy of Science’s Director of Taxonomy Australia, Adjunct Associate Professor Kevin Thiele explains getting the 30% has taken more than 300 years of Western scientific exploration!

TAXONOMY ON STEROIDS: “Without this 25-year mission, it’s likely to take more than 400 years to discover all remaining Australian plants, animals, fungi and other organisms.

“By combining the skills of our current and future scientists with new technologies such as genome sequencing, artificial intelligence and supercomputing, we will be able to make this ambitious goal achievable by 2050.

“The successful completion of this mission will help build a path to a sustainable and prosperous future and place Australia among the first nations in the world to benefit from a fully documented biodiversity.”

Adjunct Associate Professor Kevin Thiele,

AAS Director of Taxonomy

The mission is also expected to:

  • reduce green tape by providing more certainty to the resources sector
  • help protect Australia’s agriculture and the environment from imported pests and diseases by reducing bio-security risks
  • stimulate new opportunities in agriculture, fisheries and aquaculture, pharmaceuticals and environmental management
  • help ensure that conservation investments are targeted and effective
  • lead to new industries in emerging fields such as industrial food technologies and bio-engineering.

The estimated cost of building capability needed to document the remaining estimated 600,000 Australian species yet to be discovered is $824 million over 25 years.

Download the report here.

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