Australia's Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has pledged to increase Aid to the Solomon Islands by at least AUD$14.5 Million, despite cutbacks in Australia.

"It is a question of making sure that if you act now on the development challenges here in the region then you reduce the problems for Australia and other countries later on," said Mr. Rudd.

Mr. Rudd stated that it is important for Australia, since "if the region is not properly attended to, then these problems come crashing across our doors later on."

Mr. Rudd stated that it is important for Australia to act sensibly, intelligently and cooperatively with partner Governments in the region. "This is to build health, to build education, to build infrastructure, to build economic opportunities for the peoples of the Island States, for their own futures," Mr. Rudd added.

Solomon Islands Prime Minister, Dr Derek Sikua, has welcomed the increase in Aid assistance from Australia. "I wish to thank Prime Minister Rudd for his indications of additional funding support for rehabilitation and other priorities, priority areas of the Government," said Dr Sikua.