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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 9153

SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON P J KEATING MP LUNCHEON FOR THE PRIME MINISTER OF THE SOLOMON ISLANDS THE HON FRANCIS HILLY, MP, PARLIAMENT HOUSE CANBERRA MONDAY, 14 MARCH 1994

Photo of Keating, Paul

Keating, Paul

Period of Service: 20/12/1991 to 11/03/1996

More information about Keating, Paul on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 14/03/1994

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 9153

PRIME MINISTER
SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER, THE HON P. J. KEATING, MP
LUNCHEON FOR THE PRIME MINISTER OF THE SOLOMON ISLANDS,
THE HON FRANCIS HILLY, MP, PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA,
MONDAY, 14 MARCH 1994
It is my great pleasure to welcome to Australia the Head of Government of
the Solomon Islands.
I have been looking forward to seeing Mr Hilly in Australia later this year,
when the South Pacific Forum meets in Brisbane.
In fact I have already had the pleasure of seeing Mr Hilly at the forum in
Nauru last year, and at CHOGM in Cyprus.
However, those are not really occasions for bilateral discussions such as we
have enjoyed this morning.
Australia welcomes talks with the Solomon Islands of the warm and friendly
nature we had today. They enable us to, explore issues of concern to both
countries in some greater depth than a multilateral occasion.
At the forum, I have no doubt Mr Hilly and I will have the opportunity to
address regional matters which concern each of us.
That is the Pacific way.
But neighbours in the region must have opportunities to talk within the
framework of their own relationship in this case, a relationship of great
warmth which Australia values highly.
I particularly welcome the fact that on this visit, Prime Minister, you are
accompanied by a trade and investment delegation from the Solomon
Islands.
And that you and the delegation will be exploring ways to expand trade and
investment opportunities, with a special emphasis on tourism. 4961
I J

In my first few months as Prime Minister I had the opportunity of visiting
Honiara to take part in the South Pacific Forum, which happily coincided with
the 15th anniversary of the independence of the Solomon Islands.
While my time was mostly confined to the capital itself, I saw enough of
Guadalcanal and the surrounding waters to recognise the value of your
attractive environment and the tremendous potential it offers in the long term
for tourism.
As I said at last year's forum in Nauru, the promotion of the private sector and
the development of export industries will be fundamental to the Pacific's
future economic prospects.
Your initiative, Prime Minister, in bringing this business delegation to
Australia is a concrete and helpful step in this context.
As you know, trade between us is heavily weighted in my country's favour.
That is not uncomfortable for Australia, but we are prepared to help in
encouraging Australian companies to trade with, and invest in, the Solomon
Islands. Your government's commitment to economic reform is, in this regard, most
welcome. The path to economic reform is not easy. I know that because the Australian
government has been following it for a decade.
But success in economic reform should also open up opportunities for
Australian business, to the benefit of both nations.
However trade links are only one facet of our bilateral relationship.
Australia is your neighbour in the South Pacific, and we consider the region
we share to be of vital importance in our foreign policy and security
objectives. My appointment of Gordon Bilney as Minister for Pacific Island Affairs reflects
the Australian Government's desire to give even closer attention to the
region. We will be providing some $ 11 million this financial year to help, in particular,
with education and training.
We also maintain strong links through the Defence Co-operation Program. I
enjoyed very much visiting the patrol boat base at Honiara in 1992, and
Australia is very pleased to have provided two Pacific patrol boats to help
your government protect its valuable fisheries.
4962

We also enjoy excellent people to people contacts, and your invitation to the
business leaders who have accompanied you will help promote them.
I have been looking forward, as I said, to welcoming you to Australia again for
the 25th South Pacific Forum in Brisbane in August, which represents
another aspect of the relationship between our two countries.
I trust we can have a useful discussion there of the economic challenges
facing all of us in the region, looking in particular at how to make the best use
of our resources.
But I also trust that our bilateral talks this morning have been as useful to you
as they have been to me.
And I trust that your current visit to Australia is both useful and enjoyable. 4963

Transcript 9153