Bob Hawke played an enormous role in protecting some of Australia’s and the world’s most important environmental heritage, at times in the face of intense industry and political hostility.

The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) would like to express its sadness about the passing of Prime Minister Bob Hawke, who left a tremendous environmental legacy to our country.

ACF Chief Executive Officer, Kelly O’Shanassy, said Mr Hawke played an enormous role in protecting some of Australia’s and the world’s most important environmental heritage, at times in the face of intense industry and political hostility.

“Some of ACF’s proudest achievements wouldn’t have been possible without the political courage of Bob Hawke and his governments. Like all Australians we owe him a debt,” Ms O’Shanassy said.

“Mr Hawke famously worked with ACF’s Phillip Toyne and National Farmers’ Federation’s Rick Farley to take Landcare from a grassroots community restoration effort to a widespread national program that has helped farmers and other landowners across our nation reinvest in our landscapes, rivers and vegetation.

“Mr Hawke took leadership to ensure the Franklin River continued to flow freely, a move that paved the way for better national environmental law.

“He ensured the Daintree still stands today. He halted the Jabiluka uranium mine and protected Kakadu. He saved Shelburne Bay from sand mining. And he expanded the Tasmanian World Heritage Wilderness Area.

“Critically, he led the charge to ban mining from Antarctica, making it a place protected for scientific endeavour and all people. It was a move emblematic of the global role Mr Hawke envisaged Australia playing in solving the world’s great environmental problems.

“In 1989 Mr Hawke gave an important speech to launch the State of the Environment report. In it he said words as true today as they were 30 years ago: ‘When the earth is spoiled, humanity and all living things are diminished. We have taken too much from the earth and given back too little. It's time to say enough is enough.’

“Mr Hawke’s legacy is there for all Australians to follow in taking action commensurate with our modern environmental challenges, from the climate crisis to the accelerating collapse of biodiversity.”

ACF Media Enquiries

Journalists with enquiries may contact Tom Arup on 0402 482 910 or Josh Meadows on 0439 342 992. For all other enquiries please call 1800 223 669 or email action@mail.acf.org.au