Australia and Solomon Islands share a common goal of promoting stability, growth and human development in Solomon Islands, a partnership that will continue to deliver results in the year ahead.

This was the theme of official talks between the Governments of Australia and Solomon Islands at the annual Solomon Islands-Australia High Level consultations in Honiara today.

During the bilateral talks, officials from Solomon Islands and Australia reaffirmed their commitment to work together on a new Aid Partnership, setting out the shared priorities for Australian aid in Solomon Islands.

In line with the Solomon Islands Government’s development priorities, Australian High Commissioner Andrew Byrne said Australia’s development assistance is also gradually shifting to increase support for economic growth.

‘We want to help Solomon Islands increase prosperity and create more jobs for Solomon Islanders,” High Commissioner Byrne said.

“We want to work with the Government to identify opportunities for Australia to facilitate more private sector investment in Solomon Islands.”

Also in the talks, High Commissioner Andrew Byrne reaffirmed Australia’s commitment to the future stability of Solomon Islands by updating officials on the design of Australia’s new policing, justice and governance programs.

“Australia is consulting closely with the Solomon Islands Government as the design of these signature initiatives begins to take shape,” High Commissioner Byrne said. “While RAMSI may be departing, Australia’s commitment to Solomon Islands remains and our bilateral development program will continue beyond this date.”

“This includes a new bilateral policing program. It also includes new justice and governance programs that are being designed at the same time. This will ensure support is seamless across the law and justice, and policing sectors from the current to the new programs.”

High Commissioner Byrne told delegates that an effective aid program in Solomon Islands remains a key priority for Australia.

‘We want to ensure we have a targeted, effective aid program in Solomon Islands that is delivering demonstrable results for Solomon Islanders.

“Solomon Islands remains the third-largest recipient of Australian aid globally, so it’s important that we continue to demonstrate that our aid program is delivering results”, said High Commissioner Byrne.

Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Development Planning and Aid Coordination, Shadrach Fanega said: “Solomon Islands fully recognise the significant role Australia as a major development partner plays in the development of the country and has always appreciated the invaluable and substantial support received through the development partnership and aid program.”

Solomon Islands is also pleased that the Australia’s Partnership for Development and Australia’s Aid Investment Plan 2015/16- 2018/19 have embraced and are consistent with the Solomon Islands Government policy directions and priorities stipulated in its National Development Strategy 2016-2035 and other relevant policy and plan documents of Solomon Islands.

PS Fanega further added that while the Partnership for Development reflects Solomon Islands priorities and supports economic growth, stability and human resources development, the Solomon Islands Government would further welcome partnership in large transformative and game changing project initiatives that would make significant impact on the economy and transform the lives of all Solomon Islanders. Such a partnership would also be consistent with the global 2030 Agenda and in achieving the relevant sustainable development goals (SDGs) in Solomon Islands.

PS Fanega acknowledged that the consultations have been very frank, friendly and cordial and in the spirit of a true and durable partnership.