Anthony Albanese, Prime Minister of Australia, welcomed Jeremiah Manele, Prime Minister of Solomon Islands to Canberra on 26 June 2024 on his first international visit as Prime Minister.

This was their first meeting as Prime Ministers. The meeting followed recent visits to Honiara by Australian Deputy Prime Minister Marles and Foreign Minister Wong, highlighting the importance of our relationship.

Australia and Solomon Islands are family with interconnected futures – we share a region, an ocean and a history of partnership. Australia is Solomon Islands’ partner of choice – with the largest development and security cooperation programmes in Solomon Islands, and substantial infrastructure cooperation, economic and people-to-people links.

The leaders celebrated key recent milestones, including Solomon Islands’ delivery of safe and secure elections and a successful Pacific Games, with security support from Pacific Islands Forum members (Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea).

The leaders discussed their vision for a transformational Australia-Solomon Islands partnership. They committed to work together to achieve shared ambitions and overcome challenges through a partnership that is equitable and enduring. This approach will foster greater cooperation to assist Solomon Islands to strengthen its sovereignty and resilience and to move faster towards achieving its economic, development and security objectives.

Economic growth and job creation are vital for Solomon Islands’ future. Australia is committed to creating jobs, delivering priority infrastructure and building prosperity for Solomon Islanders, through its longstanding economic and development partnership. Australia is a key tourism market for Solomon Islands. Leaders agreed to continue to work together to identify ways to attract increased international investment to provide secure and quality infrastructure for Solomon Islands.

Leaders noted the priority that Solomon Islands attaches to its Bina Harbour development. They welcomed the mutual economic benefits from the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme, which is also building important community and people-to-people connections. Leaders look forward to further deepening linkages through the new Pacific Engagement Visa.

Noting Australia’s position as Solomon Islands’ security partner of choice, leaders discussed the request from Solomon Islands to Australia to assist in growing and building the capability of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, including the Solomon Islands Government’s ambition to increase its police force from 1,500 to 3,000 officers – a programme of decadal change, which will support the Solomon Islands Government’s ambitions to grow its police force to 5,000 over time.

Leaders asked ministers and officials to work together on next steps and to consider the basis on which this request could further strengthen sovereignty and regional stability.

Australia’s continued support to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force will build Solomon Islands’ ability to meet its own security needs, and reduce its reliance on external partners. Australia welcomed Solomon Islands’ three-tier security arrangement, comprising: tier one, being addressed through enhanced domestic capability of a strengthened and empowered Royal Solomon Islands Police Force; tier two, assistance from Melanesian Spearhead Group countries through bilateral or collective engagement; and tier three, activation of bilateral or collective support from Pacific Islands Forum members.

Leaders agreed to the importance of this three-tier framework for strengthening Solomon Islands’ sovereignty, stability and resilience.

The two sides reaffirmed the value of the Pacific Islands Forum and associated statements, including the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent and the 2018 Boe Declaration on Regional Security.

Recognising Solomon Islands as the incoming Chair of the Pacific Islands Forum, leaders agreed that Australia and Solomon Islands would work with other Pacific Islands Forum members to strengthen Pacific policing capability. They look forward to further developing the Pacific Policing Initiative, and agreed to discuss regional policing and law enforcement outcomes with other Pacific leaders at the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ Meeting in August 2024.

Leaders agreed Australia will assist Solomon Islands to host the Forum Leaders’ Meeting in 2025.

The two sides committed to continue working together to tackle the impacts of climate change, including through support for the Pacific Resilience Facility, a Pacific-led and owned climate finance facility, and by focusing the world’s attention on the climate crisis in our region, through Australia’s bid to host COP31 in partnership with the Pacific.

The leaders also committed to continue working together to strengthen health systems and improve health outcomes in Solomon Islands. Leaders noted Solomon Islands’ aspiration to eliminate domestic transmission of malaria by 2030 and achieve its eradication by 2035, and to halt and reverse the incidence of non-communicable diseases in Solomon Islands. Australia is committed to supporting the Solomon Islands Government’s health strategy.

The two sides reflected on the ties that bind, including strong people-to-people links, shared democratic values and a longstanding history of cooperation. Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to build on these strong foundations and advance their aspiration for a new partnership and a peaceful, prosperous and resilient Pacific.