Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs, Richard Marles, today chaired the fifth meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Standing Committee on the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator David Feeney, also represented Australia at the meeting, which included participants from New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, RAMSI and the Forum Secretariat.
"RAMSI is a success story for the region, and today’s meeting was an important opportunity to discuss its achievements and future work," Mr Marles said.
The Committee today welcomed the progress made by RAMSI and the Solomon Islands Government over the past year. It commended the excellent cooperation between the Solomon Islands Government and RAMSI and welcomed their commitment to continue working closely together to address remaining challenges.
"It is important that this significant progress continues and is sustained through the current transition phase," Senator Feeney said.
RAMSI has trained more than 2000 public servants since 2008. With the help of RAMSI advisers, the Solomon Islands Government doubled internal revenue collection between 2007 and 2010 and opened the telephone market to competition, cutting call costs by nearly half.
The Committee noted that RAMSI was reducing in size in line with the timelines and milestones in the Partnership Framework, RAMSI’s work plan.
"This transition will occur in close consultation with the Solomon Islands Government," Senator Feeney said.
"RAMSI was never intended to be in Solomon Islands permanently. Australia remains committed to assisting Solomon Islands achieve a stable and prosperous future, both through RAMSI as it transitions and our strong bilateral relationship," Mr Marles said.
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