Leading independent drug research, policy and education organisation, Penington Institute, has today celebrated the public health achievements of Australia’s 23rd Prime Minister the Hon RJL Hawke AC GCL on the occasion of his passing.

Penington Institute CEO John Ryan said that Bob Hawke can be thanked for many aspects of the health of Australians today.

“Bob Hawke and his governments led many ground-breaking and world-leading public health initiatives.

“The fact that Australia has one of the world’s lowest rates of HIV is a direct result of actions taken by Bob Hawke,” Mr Ryan said.

“His government also formalised, funded and expanded the now Australia-wide network of needle and syringe programs (NSPs). NSPs are arguable Australia’s most successful public health initiative. For example, in the ten years to 2009, the program is credited as directly averting more than 32,000 new HIV infections and close to 100,000 hepatitis C infections.

“For each one dollar invested in NSPs, more than four dollars are returned in health care cost-savings in the short-term (ten years).

“If patient/client costs and productivity gains and losses are included in the analysis, then for each one dollar invested in NSPs, $27 is returned in cost savings,” Mr Ryan said.

“Thousands of lives have been saved thanks to the forward-thinking of Bob Hawke.

“We express our sincere condolences to Bob Hawke’s family, friends and colleagues.”


About Penington Institute

Officially launched in 2014, Penington Institute grew out of the work of Anex and its 20 years’ experience working with people directly affected by problematic drug use. Penington Institute’s mission is to actively support the adoption of approaches to drug use that promote safety and human dignity. It does so through independent, non-partisan thought leadership, community education, training, research and policy formation.