AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY VISITS SOLOMON ISLANDS
The Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Trade and Investment, Hon. Steven Ciobo MP, is in the country for two days.
This is Australia’s first high-level visit to Solomon Islands since the national elections in November 2014.
A statement from the Australian High Commission Office in Honiara said Mr Ciobo will have the opportunity to meet with senior members of the new Solomon Islands Government, including Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare.
In these meetings, Mr Ciobo will reaffirm Australia’s support for a strong partnership with Solomon Islands, focused on stability, economic growth and human development.
Mr Ciobo is hosting a roundtable discussion with key Australian business representatives, to discuss how Australia can support the Solomon Islands Government’s efforts to strengthen economic growth and governance.
He will also open Solomon Islands’ first Cocoa Testing Laboratory, jointly funded by Australia and the Solomon Islands Government, which will improve access to key markets forth is vital export product.
Meanwhile, the statement said in a visit to the Solomon Islands Customs and Excise Division, Mr Ciobo will see first-hand the benefits of Australia’s technical assistance to Solomon Islands in strengthening revenue collection and trade facilitation – a key contribution to economic growth and stability.
Mr Ciobo will also open the post natal ward at the Solomon Islands’ National Referral Hospital, which Australia has supported as part of its $20 million per year package of assistance to the Solomon Islands health sector.
Solomon Islands is the third largest recipient of Australia’s official development assistance, amounting to $168.1 million in 2014-15.