I write in response to the article published on your website on 17 January, which made inaccurate statements about Australia’s support to Australian company Silentworld.

The article claimed Silentworld was negotiating the purchase of the former Solomon Taiyo factory site at Tulagi and that Silentworld received ‘secret funding’ from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). These claims are not correct.

Silent world is not seeking to purchase the former Solomon Taiyo factory site and there is no ‘secret funding’. Australia has been transparently providing funding to Sasape International Shipyard Limited (SISL), a company owned by Silentworld, to assist with operational costs during COVID-19. This was to ensure that SISL upheld its financial obligations to the Solomon Islands National Provident Fund as the landowner of the Sasape site, and to maintain a slipway operation for maritime vessels in Solomon Islands – a service which is becoming more and more limited across the Pacific. Our support has totalled no more than AUD560,000 and has been tied to specific outcomes to ensure the slipway maintains its important service and continues to employ local people.

In preparing the article, the journalist did not seek a quote or check his facts with the Silentworld company, the Australian High Commission or DFAT.

Dr Lachlan Strahan
High Commissioner
Australian High Commission, Honiara