AUSTRALIAN INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAM APPROVES 2030 ROADMAP AND LOCAL CONTENT STRATEGY
The Australian and Solomon Islands Governments have approved a 2030 roadmap for the Australian-funded Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program (SIIP) which outlines a pathway to boost connectivity in the country by building robust and high-quality economic infrastructure. Local content will play a vital role in realising the Roadmap.
Following the quarterly SIIP Steering Committee meeting on 7 December, Co-Chair and Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr Jimmie Rodgers said, “the Roadmap will help to harness the transformative potential of the remaining eight years of Australia’s ten-year infrastructure investment to stimulate economic development in Solomon Islands”.
“The Roadmap is a medium-term guide that will support our joint Steering Committee as we make strategic investment decisions for the greatest economic and social impact across the country.”
The Steering Committee also approved a strategy for ensuring local content – local jobs, local materials, and local contractors and suppliers – is maximised in every SIIP project.
Co-Chair and Australian High Commissioner Dr Lachlan Strahan said SIIP was committed to elevating the level of local content in infrastructure programs.
Dr Strahan said, “Australia walks the talk on local content. SIIP’s local content strategy isn’t just fine words. It’s about providing real opportunities for local companies, local workers and local suppliers.”
‘The Strategy also maximises opportunities for local partners to operate and/or maintain infrastructure wherever possible after handover,” said Dr Strahan. “The Steering Committee will always keep an eye on local content, ensuring SIIP honours its commitments.”
Dr Rodgers said the Strategy will help build local industry capacity and support more jobs for local firms in the long term. “The overall intention of enabling local content is to maximise the positive impact on the Solomon Islands economy,” said Dr Rodgers.
SIIP recently conducted four awareness and training sessions to over 300 industry representatives to help explain SIIP’s tender and procurement process. Another free workshop in January will be held on contract management to help local companies compete for and manage infrastructure works.
SIIP also conducts briefings to help support local suppliers match their skills and capacity to SIIP opportunities.
For complex projects, SIIP has established an online Local Company Register to help local companies to form partnerships with overseas counterparts to work together to deliver well-designed and well-built infrastructure.
SIIP is currently supporting ten infrastructure projects – three new markets in Buala, Malu’u and Seghe, a new wharf for Buala, upgrades for Taro and Seghe airfields (a project led by New Zealand), the Naha Birthing and Urban Health Centre in Honiara, a new water supply system for Gizo, detailed designs for the redevelopment of Noro Port, and a water and sanitation feasibility study for the Bina Harbour Project.