At the request of the Solomon Islands Government, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) is contributing to Australia’s support to the Solomon Islands in the lead up to and during the nation’s first national general election since the end of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands in 2017.
Around 200 ADF personnel have begun to deploy to the Solomon Islands and will work with New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel to provide logistic and contingency support to the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force and Solomon Islands Electoral Commission.
The combined task group will provide transport, logistic, advisory and communications support, including four MRH-90 helicopters from the ADF and two from the NZDF.
Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, said Australia’s support to the Solomon Islands national general election was a reflection of the deep partnership and respect between both nations.
“Our relationship with the Solomon Islands was forged during the Second World War and reinforced more recently with the multi-national Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands from 2003-2017,” Minister Pyne said.
“Australia’s support to the election demonstrates our commitment to responding to our neighbour’s request for assistance and more broadly the promise made in 2018 by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to step-up our engagement in the Pacific region.”
Minister Pyne said the ADF’s support to the assistance mission mirrors the equally successful contribution made to support the Papua New Guinea national elections in 2017.
“In both instances we have been able to help citizens exercise their democratic right during a national election which is at the core of our region’s shared values,” Minister Pyne said.
Australia remains committed to supporting the capacity development of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force under the longstanding Defence Cooperation Program and enhanced engagement in the Pacific.