Australia

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Australia has provided civilian, police and military personnel to RAMSI since it began in July 2003. Australia plays a lead role in RAMSI, providing the majority of personnel, a large development assistance program and a senior Australian diplomat to head the Mission as Special Coordinator.

 

The Participating Police Force (PPF) is led by the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Australia provides the largest number of personnel to the PPF and coordinates all contributing contingents. The multi-national composition of the mission has been influential in the success of PPF activities and widespread acceptance within the Solomon Islands.

 

Australia's development assistance program through RAMSI is managed by the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID).

 

Australia also leads the military component of RAMSI and coordinates all contributing contingents.

  • Dr Phillip de la Rue is an Australian Treasury officer working with the Economic Reform Unit of the Solomon Island’s Ministry of Finance and Treasury.

    Dr Phillip de la Rue is an Australian Treasury officer working with the Economic Reform Unit of the Solomon Island’s Ministry of Finance and Treasury.

    “My role is to build the capacity of my colleagues in taxation analysis, forecasting and policy development,” Phillip explains.

    “I assist local officers on various sectoral issues, like mining, fisheries and logging, where there are substantial revenue implications.”

    It’s a challenging job, and the work of the Solomon’s Islands Ministry of Finance and Treasury is demanding.

    The Ministry is responsible for economy and industry policy, taxation, federal budget coordination, market regulation, national statistics, treasury, customs, and many other areas, including IT support for all Solomon Island Government departments.

    As Phillip explains, “to put this in perspective, in Australia these functions are delivered by a number of different departments and agencies, including the Department of the Treasury; Department of Finance and Deregulation; the Australia Tax Office; Australian Office of Financial Management; the Bureau of Statistics; Customs Service; and the National Audit Office.”

    While the Ministry’s work is conducted by Solomon Islands public servants, RAMSI advisers, like Phillip play an important role in building local skills and knowledge, drawing on their experience to provide guidance on complicated policies and issues.

    “I am focused on two areas of capacity development: technical skills that assist officers assess both the tax system as a whole; and strengthening the organisational, planning and coordination skills of team members. I am focused on building skills like written and oral communication, people skills, personal initiative and appreciating the overall role and responsibilities of the Ministry.”

    Over the coming year, Phillip hopes his team will improve its ability to organise and plan the delivery of its outputs largely without adviser assistance.

    “I also hope that the team is able to respond in a timely manner to changes that affect the tax base and progress reforms that will strengthen and secure the Solomon Islands tax system.”

    For Phillip, coming to the Solomon Islands has been a great opportunity to combine his passions for both economic policy and development.

    “I have always wanted to work in development. As part of my work in Canberra, I had visited Solomon Islands and was struck by the positive attitude of people here in wanting to improve their lives. The work RAMSI has done since its inception is of immense value and I am proud to be able to contribute to this.”

  • Private Everlyn Dunton, a Solomon Islander by birth, is literally right at home as she returns to Solomon Islands to serve with RAMSI's military contingent.

    A deployment to the Solomon Islands may be worlds apart for some but for Townsville soldier Private Everlyn Dunton, a Solomon Islander by birth, she is literally right at home as she returns to Solomon Islands for her first operational deployment.

    Currently deployed with the military contingent of the RAMSI, Private Dunton says she is proud to return to her homeland as a member of the Australian military.

    “I’m really happy to come back and do the job that I love and have an opportunity to work with my people.”

    “This is the first time I have come back for work. It’s very different walking around in my uniform.”

    Growing up in Gizo, in the Solomons' Western Province, Private Dunton looked up to her father, a police officer, and decided one day she would follow in his footsteps.

    “I always admired him, I told Dad when I grow up I wanted to be like him. I wanted to join the army or the police force.”

    “There is no army in the Solomon Islands so if I stayed I would have served like my father in the police force after completing my studies in Honiara.”

    But after moving to Australia in 2003 with her Australian husband, Private Dunton became an Australian citizen and decided it was time to fulfil her dream and join the army.

    “I’m very grateful to live in Australia but I never would have left Solomon Islands if I didn’t meet my husband.”

    Deployed as a driver with RAMSI’s miltiry contingent, Private Dunton’s days are varied and at times hectic but having knowledge of the area of operations has certainly made things easier.

    “Knowing the language makes my job a lot easier as I can talk to the people and translate information for my colleagues.”

    “My days consist of troop lifts and admin runs as well as mail and airport runs. When required we conduct non techs and minor maintenance on vehicles.”

    Private Dunton’s family who live in the country’s Western province, travelled 12 hours by boat to visit their daughter before she returns home.
     
    “I saw both my parents and they are really proud of me. My dad is really happy and really supportive of my decision.” 

    During Private Dunton’s visit she decided to surprise her sisters by turning up to their home unannounced.

    “I walked in and they just stood there. It was only when I got really close that they realised it was me.”

    “They didn’t recognise me at all at first.”

    Private Dunton said she tries to return to the Solomon Islands as often as possible and has made a number of private trips since moving to Australia.

    “It is really good to be back I always look forward to returning home and spending time with my family.”

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