Wednesday, 9 July 2008 12:26 PM

Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Visits Solomons

Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs visited Solomon Islands to be part of the celebrations.

In his 6th - 8th July visit to the country, Australia's Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Hon Duncan Kerr SC MP and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Dr. Derek Sikua had the opportunity to meet.

Discussions took place on opportunities to build on the renewed constructive and cooperative partnership between Australia and Solomon Islands under the Sikua government.

In a statement, Mr. Kerr said that being part of the Solomon Islands 30th Anniversary celebrations was "an honour and a real pleasure".

Mr. Kerr said that the independence "marks the passage of time since independence and Australia's hope for a bright and prosperous future for the people of Solomon Islands."

He said that discussions had taken place in a meeting with Prime Minister Dr. Derek Sikua while in Honiara from the 6th - 8th July.


"I was pleased to present Prime Minister Sikua with a clock, set in the wood of an Australian coolibah," Mr. Kerr said.

During the short visit, Mr. Kerr said visiting Malaita on 8 July "gave me the opportunity to experience firsthand the considerable progress which has been made through the AusAID funded Community Sector Program and NGO Cooperation Agreement, as well as the RAMSI Law and Justice Program."

"While there are clear signs that life has begun to change for the better, much work remains to achieve the aspirations of the Solomon Islands Government for its people."

"In this context, I commend the implementation of the RAMSI/European Union/World Bank Rural Development Program which is being delivered through the Solomon Islands Government. The first phase, covering the four provinces of Malaita, Temotu, Choiseul and Western Province, will increase access by rural communities to priority infrastructure and services, and improved the level and security of rural livelihoods."

"We are mindful of Solomon Islands development needs and priorities. These will be at the forefront of our considerations as we work together in the near future to develop a Pacific Partnership for Development to improve long-term development outcomes."

Mr. Kerr reiterated Australia's committment to working with Solomon Islands, "through our bilateral aid program and our contribution to RAMSI, to build a peaceful and sustainable future for Solomon Islands."