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The economic contribution of Australia's nature-based outdoor recreation sector

Nature-based outdoor recreation activities form a major part of the Australian lifestyle. The benefits of participation in these activities are far-reaching and significant. However, up until now, these benefits have been largely unknown.

New research has now established preliminary estimates regarding the important economic contributions of this sector in order to support the identification of skills and training needs for the future workforce.

SkillsIQ commissioned Marsden Jacob Associates to conduct a study to better understand the impact of the nature-based outdoor recreation sector on Australia’s economy. A quantitative evaluation was conducted to establish a picture of this sector, covering both participation across activities and also the economics of the sector in relation to employment, expenditure, and Gross Value-Add (GVA).

Australia’s nature-based outdoor activities community covers a diverse range of participants and organisations—both young and old, public and private, for-profit and not-for-profit, community- and business-oriented, voluntary and professional.

Some of the key findings of the research include the following:

  • The nature-based outdoor recreation activity sector makes up a larger part of the economy than many of us realised. In New South Wales alone, the direct GVA attributable to outdoor recreation is estimated to be $4.2 billion annually.
  • The workforce involved in nature-based outdoor recreation occupations is sizeable, representing approximately 77,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in New South Wales, 33,500 FTE jobs in Queensland and 18,500 FTE jobs in Western Australia.
  • Nature-based outdoor recreation activities provide benefits to the economy in terms of avoided costs to the healthcare system. For example, in Western Australia and Queensland the savings are equivalent to $208 million and $380 million respectively each year in healthcare costs which have been avoided.

The findings of the research are being released through individual reports specific to each state and territory. To access your state or territory report, please click the relevant link below.

To view Victoria's report commissioned by Outdoors Victoria please click here

The reports establish an important body of evidence which underpins the importance of ensuring the development of a skilled workforce to support participation in nature-based outdoor activities. 

For further information, please contact SkillsIQ on (02) 9392 8100.