Australian High Commission
Solomon Islands

News and Media


Governor General, His Excellency Sir David Vunagi

Prime Minister, the Honourable Manasseh Sogavare

Other ministers of the crown

Leader of the Opposition, the Hon Matthew Wale

Other members of Parliament

Secretary to the Prime Minister, Dr Jimmie Rodgers

Permanent Secretary of Police, National Security and Correctional Services, Karen Galokale

Permanent Secretaries, other statutory office holders and elected representatives

Supervising Commissioner of the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force, Deputy Commissioner Ian Vaevaso

Representing Solomon Scouts and Coastwatchers, Sir Bruce and Lady Keithie Saunders

Members of armed forces from Solomon Islands, Australia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand

Members of the diplomatic corps

Friends, colleagues, ladies, and gentlemen


Good morning

Thank you for joining me here this morning as we remember those who lost their lives in the sinking of the HMAS Canberra, 81 years ago.

Early on the morning of 9 August 1942 the Royal Australian Navy’s heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra was attacked and severely damaged during the Battle of Savo Island. She was hit by shellfire 24 times in less than two minutes.

Francis Pickup, a signaller aboard Canberra, gave account of the ships last hours. He said “the fire raged and cancer-like, the flames spread uncontrollably. Much was done between the hours of 0143 to 0600 to attend the wounded and dying men. I was amongst the group gathered on the quarterdeck. Everybody kept calm despite the situation. Flames burned amidships and at one stage were licking at the Walrus amphibious aircraft mounted on the catapult. The bombs on both wings seemed likely at one stage to explode…thankfully nothing eventuated.” 

At 0600 on 9 August, as the first light of day began to break, the order to abandon ship came.

109 Royal Australian Navy members were wounded during the Battle of Savo Island, and an additional 84 were killed in action or died of their wounds – all were crew of the HMAS Canberra. And they were not alone. 939 members of the United States Navy lost their lives in the battle. Together, they lie in the depths of what is now known as Iron Bottom Sound - united in peace with the Japanese sailors who also paid the ultimate price in service to their nation.

Today we acknowledge that those former foes are united by their commitment to peace and stability, including here in the Pacific, where we work together in support of a common future.

Remembering occasions like this serves to remind us of what can happen when great power politics spills into our region. Something we never wish to see repeated.

Australia and Solomon Islands’ long history of security partnership arcs back to World War Two. It was during this period when our two countries first worked together as Scouts and Coastwatchers. Coastwatchers and Scouts had to work hand in hand, to trust each other, risking their lives together to report on the movements of enemy aircraft and vessels. Together they rescued 791 defence personnel, missionaries and civilians. They created the bedrock for our security partnership and today I pay my respects and thank the Solomon Scouts for their bravery and sacrifice.

It would be remiss of me to not acknowledge the recent commissioning of the USS Canberra. As some of you may be aware, in July the United States Ship Canberra was commissioned in Australia; the first US ship to be commissioned outside US territory and the only to be named after a foreign capital city. The USS Canberra is named after the original HMAS Canberra, the one that fought so valiantly and now rests in Iron Bottom Sound. Canberra’s contributions to the Battle of Savo Island, so immense, that the US has honoured the name - twice. The first USS Canberra named by order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943.

I’d like to end by echoing the words Australia’s Chief of Navy said so eloquently last year - Solomon Islands is not that far away from Australia. And in fact, an Australian warship is sovereign territory. In this sense there is a piece of our nation at rest in your waters, and our sons who served so bravely on the Canberra, are forever in your care.

Lest we forget.


I’d like to acknowledge the presence of:

  • Hon Jeremiah Manele, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade
  • Hon Sammy Galo, Member for South Choiseul Constituency
  • Hon Peter Kenilorea Jnr, Member for East Are’Are Constituency
  • Hon Tongua Tabe, Premier of Choiseul
  • Project Coordinator

It’s great to have national Members of Parliament here to support the hard-working Project Coordinators in their successes.

Congratulations to the successful Project Coordinators here with us today.

I’ve seen firsthand the difference that the Solomon Islands – Australia Partnership can make to those living in rural Solomon Islands, in particular through small scale infrastructure projects.

Great to see so many of you here today responsible for projects from different provinces including Guadalcanal, Choiseul, Temotu, Rennell & Bellona, Malaita and Isabel!

In my travel to both Makira-Ulawa and to Malaita, I’ve been delighted to officially open some of these projects funded by Australia in partnership with local communities.

  • One was a new health clinic in Oneone Abu, which is now providing health care to 19 communities in Aoke/Langalanga.
  • Another was a new classroom building at the Ngaligaragara Rural Training Centre, which is delivering more training for skills in carpentry, electrical and mechanics – meaning more jobs for rural Solomon Islands.

In Makira-Ulawa Province, I was honoured to launch a new water source project in Mwanihuki Village outside of Kirakira. As the nambawan infrastructure partner in Solomon Islands, Australia is helping the Mwanihuki Village with reliable access to water and improved sanitation.

The Projects that will be formally agreed in our signing ceremony today will directly support community needs, as identified by the Project Coordinators, including:

  • A borehole, Solar powered pump and water tanks in North-West Guadalcanal Constituency
  • A new concrete footpath, concrete drains and solar lighting in South Choiseul
  • The completion of a classroom building at a Technical Vocational School in East Honiara Constituency
  • An ablution block at a Primary School in Temotu Nende Constituency
  • A multipurpose community shed in Temotu Vatud Constituency to teach young people traditional methods of building canoes and weaving
  • A community hall in Rennell and Bellona Constituency
  • A borehole water supply project, also in Rennell and Bellona Constituency
  • An ablution block attached to a church building in North Malaita Constituency
  • Another ablution block and water tanks at a Primary School in North Malaita Constituency
  • A footbridge connecting 200 people in two communities in North-West Choiseul Constituency
  • An Ablution block at a High School in Hograno/Kia/Havulei Constituency
  • A community Hall and resource Centre in East Are’Are Constituency
  • And a climate change mitigation sea wall in Gao/Bugotu Constituency

These projects, as you can see, reach widely across Solomon Islands, and we look forward to continuing our collaboration with communities across the Hapi Isles through this program.

Projects like these deliver clear economic outcomes for rural communities in Solomon Islands – for the short and longer term – and Australia is proud to support them.

There is strong demand for Australian funding for our small-scale infrastructure grants.

We received 61 applications in our last round and have approved 13 projects.

Your projects have been selected based on their merit, and because we were impressed with your applications.

Your applications told us how your projects will benefit whole communities.

Thank you for being champions for your community.

We are looking forward to partnering with you to deliver these projects and delivering infrastructure that meets the direct needs identified by the community.

Please keep in contact with our team and let us know how your project is going over the next year.

My team will be conducting monitoring and evaluation visits towards the completion of the Project, and I love seeing the finished projects and congratulating Project Coordinators and their communities on their hard work at Handover Ceremonies.

I wish you well in your project and I look forward to hearing the outcomes.

Latitude Financial Services data breach

13 April 2023

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is aware of a cyber incident impacting Latitude Financial Services.  

Copies of approximately 103,000 identity documents have been stolen from Latitude Financial. This includes a small number of passports.   

Latitude Financial Services is contacting impacted customers directly and continues to investigate the matter to determine the full extent of the cyber-attack.  

Foreign passports were also compromised through this cyberattack. If Latitude Financial Services have advised you that your foreign passport information was compromised, you should contact the government that issued the passport for advice on what to do.

Impacted passports are still safe to use for international travel. Your passport number cannot be used to obtain a new passport. Robust controls are used to protect passports from identity takeover, including sophisticated facial recognition technology. Further information on how your passport may be impacted can be found on the APO website(link is external).  

Advice on safeguarding your personal information can be found on the APO’s webpage on protecting against scams and identity theft(link is external).   

Customers can also seek help from IDCare(link is external), a not-for-profit organisation that specialises in providing advice and support to the Australian community in responding to identity theft.  

Advice on how to protect yourself and your family from cyber security incidents is available on the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s (ACSC) webpage at: is external) 


Latitude Financial Services breach - Frequently Asked Questions

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) is aware of a cyber incident impacting Latitude Financial Services.  

A significant number of customer records, including copies of identity documents, have been stolen from Latitude Financial Services. This includes Australian and foreign passports.   

Latitude Financial Services is contacting impacted customers directly and continues to investigate the matter to determine the full extent of the cyber-attack.  

Impacted passports are still safe to use for international travel. Your passport number cannot be used to obtain a new passport. Robust controls are used to protect passports from identity takeover, including sophisticated facial recognition technology.  


Frequently Asked Questions

Is my Australian passport still safe to use for international travel purposes?

Yes. Your passport is still safe to use for international travel. Your passport details can’t be used by someone else to travel under your identity. They would need your physical passport to do this.


Could someone else get an Australian passport using my identity?

We use robust controls that protect you from identity takeover. This includes sophisticated facial recognition technology.


What about identity fraud? 

We understand you may be concerned that your passport could be used for identity fraud.  

The Australian Government has taken steps to protect passport holders from identity crime. 

The Australian Government has blocked affected Australian passports from verifying through the Document Verification Service (DVS).  

Government departments and financial organisations like banks use the DVS, an online system, to check identity documents are valid before granting access to health and welfare payments or financial services, such as home loans. 

The Australian Government has blocked passports compromised as part of the Latitude Financial Services breach from verifying through the DVS. 

This means your identity will stay safe and secure. 


What if I need to access government or financial services using my passport? 

The Australian Government has blocked all compromised Australian passports from being used as a form of identity through the Document Verification Service (DVS). This protects victims of the Latitude Financial Services data breach from serious misuse of their identity information. 

Impacted customers should consider using alternative credentials to prove their identity or speak to the service provider about other options.  For example, presenting your physical passport in person. 


Once my Australian passport has been blocked through the DVS, can I still use it as a form of identity in Australia? 

Your passport is still a valid form of identity when used in person. You won’t be able to use it to verify your identity online. For example, if you’re using it to apply for a home loan online. 


Do I need to get a new passport?

Your passport can still be used for international travel.

Passports that are valid or have been expired for less than three years can be used for identity purposes. If Latitude Financial Services have confirmed that your current or recently expired passport has been impacted in this cyber incident, you may wish to replace it to prevent its misuse as an identity document.


I'm still nervous. Can I replace my Australian passport?

You should allow at least six weeks to get a new or replacement passport. If you’re planning to travel in the next six weeks, don’t apply for a replacement.

If you’d like to replace your passport, please go to

For more information, go to the replacement passport page.


Do I need to pay for my replacement passport?

Yes. Please refer to the fees below or the fees page for further information on passport fees.

If your identity documents were compromised as part of this cyber-attack, Latitude Financial Services will write to you with advice on replacing your compromised credentials.


How much will it cost to replace my Australian passport?

If your passport is still valid for more than 2 years, a replacement passport, with the same expiry as your current passport, will cost $204.

If your passport expires in less than 2 years or expired less than 3 years ago, it will cost $325 to get a 10-year passport.

Latitude have advised that if you choose to replace your passport, you will need to contact them regarding eligibility for reimbursement.


Can I cancel my Australian passport without getting a new one?

Yes. You can call us on 131 232 to cancel your Australian passport.


I'm currently overseas. How do I cancel my Australian passport?

Your passport is still safe for travel. If you want to cancel it, please contact your closest Australian embassy or consulate(link is external).


What if I have a foreign passport?

You’ll need to contact the diplomatic or consular mission of the country that issued the passport.


I received a notification from Latitude Financial Services about a data breach involving my personal details. Is this a scam?

Latitude Financial Services is notifying its impacted customers directly.

We recommend you consult the dedicated help page(link is external) on Latitude Financial Services’ website(link is external), through which you can request urgent assistance.

If you’d like to speak to someone directly, you can contact Latitude’s dedicated contact centre for impacted individuals on (+61) 1300 793 416 from 9am to 6pm AEDT, Monday - Friday (excluding public holidays).

If you’re concerned that your identity has been compromised, or you’ve been a victim of a scam, contact your bank immediately and call IDCARE(link is external) on 1800 595 160.

News from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade