Premier Peter Beattie and the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy Judy Spence said Uncle Bob had brought wisdom, intelligence, sensitivity and courage to his role as an adviser to government.
He was appointed as inaugural Chair of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Board (ATSIAB) in 1999, having served as a member of the previous Indigenous Advisory Council for two years. He had also served as Chair of the forerunner to Reconciliation Queensland and had made significant advances in the fields of reconciliation, violence prevention, community governance and land and heritage issues.
The Premier and Minister said Uncle Bob would be greatly missed by the Government, ATSIAB and his colleagues. "He remains a very humble and gracious man and we wish him the very best in his well deserved retirement," they said. "He has helped develop a more efficient and coordinated whole-of-government approach to funding for Indigenous communities and has been tireless in his efforts to promote self-determination for his people."
The awards and honours bestowed on Uncle Bob include: 1997 - the Premier's Award for Queensland Seniors; 1998 - The South East Queensland Indigenous Elder of the Year; 2000 - Honorary Doctorate from the Queensland University of Technology; 2001 - Citizen of the Year Brisbane; 2001 - Queensland Great; and, 2001 - Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).