27 Jan 2009

Australia signs partnerships agreements with Solomons and Kiribati

10:41 pm on 27 January 2009

The Australian government has signed partnership agreements to promote development in the Solomon Islands and Kiribati at Tuesday's Special Pacific Island Forum Leaders' meeting in Port Moresby.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the partnerships would help to improve school attendance rates and economic growth in both nations through extra assistance from Australia.

The partnerships aimed to improve service delivery, infrastructure and economic in the Solomon Islands and to improve basic education, workforce skills and economic growth in Kiribati.

Mr Rudd described the agreements as the "centrepiece" of Australia's new approach to the Pacific region.

He said that up to one million children in the region did not attend school and as many as 18,000 died each year from preventable causes.