Australia and the Solomon Islands are deepening cooperation on explosive ordnance disposal, with a $15 million package of infrastructure works, equipment and training announced in Honiara.
The package builds on Defence’s longstanding cooperation with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to address the legacy of World War II-era explosive remnants of war across the archipelago. Two fatal incidents in the last 12 months underscore the tragic ongoing human impact of unexploded ordnance on the Solomon Islands and its people.
Infrastructure works, including redevelopment of the demolitions range at the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force Hells Point facility, will 'enhance capacity to safely and securely store and dispose of World War II-era ordnance'.
A new high-mobility engineering excavator will boost police capacity to extract explosive remnants of war in Honiara and across Solomon Islands. The excavator can also be used to respond to natural disasters.
ADF experts will work closely with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force to design a tailored training package, focused on advanced skills and instructor training for experienced officers, as well as training for new officers.
This package complements training and operational support delivered under the Defence Cooperation Program, including through an embedded ADF Explosive Ordnance Disposal Adviser, and through the ADF’s contribution across the Pacific under Operation Render Safe.
Training and construction of the main works will commence in 2022.