Australian Deputy High Commissioner, Alison Duncan, paid a call on Western Province Premier, Hon George Solingi Lilo, at the start of a six-day visit to Western and Choiseul Provinces last week.

Premier Lilo and Ms Duncan discussed the development challenges facing Western Province and the contribution of the Solomon Islands-Australia Partnership for Development in meeting those challenges.

Australia is providing around $400 million in development funding to Solomon Islands this year, with a focus on improving service delivery in health and education; improving infrastructure such as roads, telecommunications and energy; improving economic livelihoods and strengthening economic reform.

Australia is also directly assisting Western Province communities with water and sanitation projects, post-tsunami reconstruction, clinics, classrooms, agricultural projects and other small-scale infrastructure.

Premier Lilo thanked Ms Duncan for Australia's support, which he said made a big difference to the people of Western Province. He also appreciated Australia's contribution to RAMSI.

Provincial Member, Hon Alson Lemopala, also attended the meeting and accompanied Ms Duncan to his provincial ward in Vella la Vella.