Pacific Engagement in Solomon Islands
Australia and Solomon Islands are Pacific family and friends. We value our position as Solomon Islands’ first security and development partner of choice.
Australia is Solomon Islands’ largest development partner, supporting all areas of society and the economy including health, justice, education, infrastructure, labour mobility, private sector growth, agriculture and rural development.
We continue to work together to face our shared challenges and achieve our shared goals, including on climate change.
Australia continues to stand with Solomon Islands as it responds to and recovers from COVID-19. Australia supported Solomon Islands’ COVID-19 response through delivery of over 40 tonnes of COVID-19 medical supplies, 618,200 vaccine doses and deployment of an Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT). Australia provided $22 million in budget support this year to assist Solomon Islands manage the dual economic impacts of COVID-19 and the unrest.
More information on Australia's relationship with Solomon Islands is available on the Solomon Islands country page.
Australia values our position as Solomon Islands’ security partner of choice. Australia is committed to meeting Solomon Islands’ current and future security challenges and needs.
Our 2017 Bilateral Security Treaty (BST) was activated for the first time in November 2021 following civil unrest in Honiara. Australia was the first country Solomon Islands called upon for support. Since November 2021, Australia has deployed more than 300 Australian Federal Police (AFP), Australia Defence Force (ADF) and DFAT personnel – working alongside those from Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and New Zealand – to restore law and order in Honiara.
Australia has extended our Bilateral Security Treaty assistance to support Solomon Islands prepare for and host the Pacific Games in December 2023.
Jointly designed by Solomon Islands and Australia, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) and Australian Federal Police Policing Partnership (RAPPP) is supporting Solomon Islands policing priorities, including preparation for the 2023 Pacific Games, infrastructure upgrades, and capability and training in areas spanning public order management, investigations, frontline policing and forensics, to health and wellbeing, and leadership development.
Australia is building a western border and patrol boat outpost and has agreed to construct a second outpost in the east. Through the Defence Cooperation and Pacific Maritime Security Programs, Australia has delivered two Guardian-Class patrol boats to support maritime security in the region and continues to support the stability of Solomon Islands through upgrades to the Aola Base wharf and construction of a border and patrol outpost in Solomon Islands western and eastern provinces.
Australia will continue to support Solomon Islands with unexploded ordnance disposal and deliver an integrated police, health and disaster management radio network across Solomon Islands. Australia also provided substantial logistics support to the 2019 elections.
Australia and Solomon Islands are Pacific family and friends and have extensive people-to-people links. There are regular two-way exchanges between Australia and Solomon Islands through the Australia Awards, Australian Volunteers Program and the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme.
The PALM scheme is demand driven, and helps to fill the labour gaps in Australia's towns and on our farms, boosting economic activity and competitiveness in rural and regional Australia by allowing eligible Australian businesses to hire workers from 9 Pacific islands and Timor-Leste.
To further boost our people to people links across the Pacific family, Australia has announced the creation of a Pacific Engagement Visa that will commence from July 2023. This visa will be modelled on New Zealand’s Pacific Access Resident visa, offering up to 3,000 visas annually by a ballot or lottery process, to encourage more Pacific permanent migration to Australia.
Australia is further deepening educational links with the region through expanded secondary and primary level teacher training and exchanges and engagement. These education development programs have adapted to COVID-19 with innovation and flexibility, pivoting to deliver core activities online by rolling out distance learning through radio, television, online learning resources and print materials. We also improved teaching and learning by supporting 160 unqualified teachers to complete qualifications and 547 people to commence teacher qualification training. Since 2006, Australia Awards has supported 480 Solomon Islanders to achieve tertiary qualifications. Working collaboratively with Pacific education partners is central to our approach.
Australia is engaging closely with governments, including through our diplomatic missions, to ensure the AIFFP supports the development priorities of Pacific countries and Timor-Leste. The AIFFP in partnership with the Solomon Islands Electricity Authority (SIEA), is developing a 22km transmission line to connect the Tina River hydropower site to the electricity grid in Honiara by 2024. Once complete, the project, including the transmission system, will reduce the cost and improve the reliability of electricity in Honiara, alleviating pressure on household incomes and providing further economic opportunities.
The new Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program (SIIP) is a 10-year, $250 million initiative whose primary objective is to deliver inclusive, resilient, high quality economic infrastructure throughout the country. Projects through this initiative include the upgrade of Noro Port in Western Province, upgrades to 10 markets across Solomon Islands, a new birthing and urban health clinic in Honiara and Western Province, upgrades to 10 markets across Solomon Islands, a new birthing and urban health clinic in Honiara and implementation of the National Building Code legislation. Australia is also funding the construction of six telecommunication towers across three Solomon Islands provinces.
Australia has a deep and longstanding relationship with Solomon Islands. Australia is the largest provider of Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Solomon Islands, providing an estimated $161.2 million in ODA to Solomon Islands in 2021-22. Australia is partnering with Solomon Islands to implement Solomon Islands' National Development Strategy (2016-2035), including through — Partnerships for Recovery: Australia's COVID-19 Development Response — which is focussed on three key pillars for recovery:
Australia’s flagship gender program in Solomon Islands Addressing Gender Equality in Solomon Islands program (2012-22), supports ending violence against women through support to government programs, behavioural changes and services, women in leadership and economic empowerment.
Under Australia’s Solomon Islands Gender Equality Plan 2020-22, we continue to support the Solomon Islands Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs to implement the SAFENET referral network in all provinces to ensure service providers are working together to address domestic violence. Australia has also provided support to the International Women’s Development Agency which enables the Family Support Centre and Christian Care Centre to provide counselling, emergency shelter, hotline support and access to medical support services to over 6,500 women and girls. Australia has also supported 230 women entrepreneurs with financial and business development services, increasing the number of women in business in Solomon Islands.