The Border and Patrol Boat Outpost groundbreaking ceremony at Lofung in the Shortland Islands, Western Province is set to go on Wednesday 23 June.
Final touches to preparations ahead of the event were put on by both the National Taskforce and the home-based working committees in the past few days.
Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare is expected to be the Chief Guest at the ceremony which will be held at Lofang and Nila station respectively.
Senior Government Ministers, Members of Parliament, the Australian High Commissioner, Chiefs of FAMOA and senior officials are expected to participate at the ceremony.
The Australian Government is funding the multimillion-dollar Border and Patrol Boat Outpost project, which Australian Prime Minister Scot Morrison and Solomon Islands Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare jointly announced in Honiara on 7 October 2019.
The two leaders said both Governments would undertake a joint project to deliver a Border and Patrol Boat Outpost in the Western border region of Solomon Islands.
They stated that the design will feature environmentally sustainable elements and will be appropriate to regional conditions and will include a wharf capable of replenishing Guardian-Class patrol boats, accommodation buildings and storage facilities.
Soon after the announcement, the Solomon Islands Government assigned the Ministry of Police, National Security and Correctional Services to lead the process in collaboration with Australian Authorities, the Western Provincial Government and the FAMOA Trust Board of the Shortland Islands to progress discussions on the project.
In November 2019, the Solomon Islands Government conduct a reconnaissance to seven potential outpost sites in the Western border areas. The intention was to identify the most suitable of these sites and present recommendations for consideration by the Solomon Islands Government.
During the process, Australia undertook to support this reconnaissance during bilateral talks in November 2019 and contributed engineering subject matter experts from the Australian Defence Force, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade personnel and transportation support.
The project once completed will improve border security services in the Western region by supporting social and economic growth by strengthening border management, surveillance, response capability and protection from illegal activities. Importantly, the project also aligns well with the Solomon Islands Government’s National Security Strategy and the National Border Security Strategy for better management of our borders.