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Morrison to unveil $250m Solomon Islands infrastructure package

Christian Fernsby ▼ | June 3, 2019
Scott Morrison is set to announce a $250 million grants program for the Solomon Islands and an easier path for islanders to get work in Australia.
Scott Morrison
Pacific   Scott Morrison
Mr Morrison is the first Australian prime minister to visit the Solomons in a decade.

He and his wife Jenny arrived in Honiara on Sunday, ahead of travelling to the UK and Singapore over the next week with a packed agenda.

His focus will be renewing ties with old friends on his first trip overseas since being re-elected after the coalition's unexpected May 18 poll win.

"In the Pacific, stepping up is all about showing up," Mr Morrison said.

"That's why I am pleased that my first official visit after the election is to our own neighbourhood, where we can always make the most difference."

As well as meeting Solomons Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare in Honiara on Monday, Mr Morrison will unveil a bilateral infrastructure program worth up to $250 million in grant financing over 10 years.

The program will support key national and economic infrastructure and will complement the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific.

It is understood the program will allow the Solomons government to quickly finance smaller, urgently-required infrastructure that it would be unwilling to borrow in order to fund.

Australia will also support the building of a new complex to hold the prime minister's office and the foreign affairs and trade ministries in Honiara.

As well, $2.7 million will be provided over three years to help islanders considering work opportunities in Australia cover their up-front costs such as passports.

A sports funding package will boost the participation of women and girls in rugby and support elite-level athletes prepare for international events.