Australian Deputy Prime Minister appreciates warm welcome from Solomon Islands
Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence, the Hon Richard Marles, has concluded his visit to Solomon Islands, demonstrating the deep connections between Australia and Solomon Islands as members of the Pacific family.
During his visit from 28-29 June, the Deputy Prime Minister met with leaders, health care workers, police, journalists, athletes, school children, and community members.
He was especially pleased to meet with Prime Minister the Hon Manasseh Sogavare, Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Manasseh Maelanga, and Minister of Police, National Security and Correctional Services the Hon Anthony Veke.
The Deputy Prime Minister was pleased to announce:
- Australia’s further support to Solomon Islands next National General Election in 2024. Australia has committed up to AUD25 million (approximately SBD 137 million) to assist the Solomon Islands Election Office to undertake a range of important preparations for the election including biometric voter registration, preparation and polling activities.
- a package of commitments for the Solomon Islands maritime sector which builds on Australia’s 40-year strong Defence Cooperation Program. It includes enhancements to Solomon Islands’ Guardian-class Patrol Boats, continued support to small boats and infrastructure, and potential private sector financing for vessel maintenance.
- Australia’s long-standing support to the National Referral Hospital continues with a new High Dependency Unit in Honiara valued at around SBD 5 million. This facility is already treating critically ill patients and has increased the National Referral Hospital’s capability to provide comprehensive acute care services.
- seven Solomon Islands clinicians have been awarded Australia Awards Fellowships and will undertake clinical exchange visits to Australian hospitals in their areas of specialty.
- new funding for the national measles and rubella immunization campaign in July and the second round of the scabies mass drug administration under the World Scabies Program.
Lastly, the Deputy Prime Minister was able to highlight Australia’s comprehensive support to Solomon Islands for the Pacific Games. In addition to infrastructure, our focus on skills, education, local employment, media training, and urban enhancement will leave a lasting legacy.
The Solomon Islands and Australia partnership is a strong as ever, based upon shared history, shared values, a love of sport, and deep people-to-people ties as members of the Pacific family.
– AHC Media Release