Journalist: We're here at the bridge site. How important is Australia's help to Solomon Islands?
Senator Carr: Basic infrastructure is important. It means that rural dwellers can get products to markets, fishers can get products to markets. It transforms local economies. So the connectivity is vital in this and that's why we're helping in basic transport infrastructure. So its part of a big aid package and it's appreciated by Solomon Islands. We're very proud that we're helping them make the transition. Building a bridge or road is connectivity. It means youngsters getting to a hospital, its means fishers being able to get their products into markets; it means farmers being able to transform the economy of the farm.
Journalist: I understand that you're also supporting wharves; that's something that you're also helping with.
Senator Carr: 45 bridges, 90 minor crossings, wharves as well. This country has got the longest coastlines of any of the small island states. Australia has a reputation of being a great partner and great friend of the small island states. They're very important; there are a lot of them. Twenty five of the countries in the Commonwealth of Nations are small island states. Increasingly, they're looking for Australia to assist them.
Journalist: You've just had lunch with the PM, anything interesting coming out of that?
Senator Carr: I know our prime minister is very keen to see him in Australia. We're going back with him to Canberra on Sunday night. I think our countries get along very, very well. It's an opportunity to build a partnership to talk about Pacific issues. To focus on co-operation. The great message out of the Solomon Islands is the benefit of regional cooperation in the Pacific. Australia's been honoured to have the lead role in RAMSI, but the message is we can solve our problems by working together as a region. That's why I'm here in the Pacific this weekend.
Journalist: Speaking of the region, Fiji – there is some criticism that it's too early and they haven't given you enough to show that they're going back to democracy but you're already letting go some of the sanctions.
Senator Carr: We haven't lifted sanctions of Fiji. What we've said is that we will be more flexible in applying the ban on their Government people coming to Australia. So one thing I've got in mind is that civilian where there is a civilian minister seeking to travel to Australia we will consider it
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