Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure Development, Manasseh Maelanga has highlighted Australia’s ongoing infrastructure development support to Solomon Islands at the Pacific Infrastructure Conference in Brisbane last week.
Maelanga led a delegation including senior government officials together with industry and private sector representatives to conference held at the Brisbane Convention Center and attended by Pacific Infrastructure leaders and experts from a broad range of infrastructure sectors.
“Since 2019, Australia has committed over SB$5 billion in infrastructure across Solomon Islands and these initiatives has created more than 10,000 jobs for Solomon Islanders – an estimated 4,000 of these jobs have been through infrastructure,” he told the conference.
According to Maelanga, one of Australia’s assistance is through helping to develop Solomon Islands’ infrastructure pipeline through technical assistance to the country’s Ministry of National Planning and Development Coordination.
He highlighted that Australia’s infrastructure assistance, including project prioritization, is delivered in close consultation with the Solomon Islands Government, provincial leaders, local communities and other donor partners.
Amongst these assistance is Australia’s bilateral infrastructure program, the Solomon Islands Infrastructure Program (SIIP) which seeks to deliver resilient and accessible infrastructure assets that support inclusive economic growth.
The majority of SIIP’s projects were approved by a Steering Committee led by Australia’s High Commissioner to Solomon Islands and the Secretary to the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands.
Other infrastructure support programmes provided by Australia is the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific (AIFFP) which partners with governments and private sector across the Pacific and Timor-Leste to provide grant and loan financing for high quality, transformational energy, water, transport, telecommunications and other infrastructure.
Australia further contributed funding to World Bank’s Community Access and Urban Services Enhancement (CAUSE) project, which aims to improve basic infrastructure and services for vulnerable, urban populations in Solomon Islands with skills training, short-term job opportunities and income generation activities.
Furthermore, Australia’s smaller scale infrastructure program, the Community Partnership grants, deliver water tanks, ablution blocks, solar lighting for health clinics, classroom buildings and community halls in every province.
Australia has also delivered critical infrastructure facilities for the 2023 Pacific Games, including the Iumi Water Sports Park and newly refurbished school dormitories and classrooms at seven education centers in Honiara, which will provide improved living and learning environment for students after the Games.
On the list of Australia’s completed bilateral infrastructure projects are the Munda biomedical lab, Taro and Gizo provincial emergency operations centers and the Forecasting Centre for Solomon Islands Meteorological Service.
Bilateral infrastructure projects under design or under construction include the Naha Birthing and Urban Health Centre, Noro Port feasibility study and detailed design, Tina River transmission line, Bina Harbour water and sanitation feasibility study, Buala wharf, Sasape shipyard refurbishment, Six mobile towers in Western Province, Fiu River bridge, Gizo water supply, New markets in Buala, Malu’u and Seghe, Market upgrades in Kirakira, Tenaru, Tulagi and Honiara Central Market, Lata biomedical lab, Taro airfield upgrade (in partnership with New Zealand), Seghe airfield upgrade (in partnership with New Zealand), RSIPF Station upgrades – Kukum Police Station, RSIPF Provincial Small Boat Facility upgrades, RSIPF EOD and Maritime Division projects, Upgrades to 13 primary school classrooms across nine provinces and Seven bus shelters in Honiara.