History of UQ solomon island partnershipHistory of the UQ Solomon Islands Partnership (since 1999)


In May 2000 Dr Jim Davie, Senior Lecturer, School of Natural and Rural Systems Management, Dr Peter Dart, Principal Research Fellow, School of Land and Food Sciences, and Mr Gregory Young, Education Officer, Solomon Island Rural Development Trust Board prepared a document called “Research, Education and Training for the Solomon Islands: Scoping for a University of Queensland Strategic Initiative. At the centre of this was a collaborative project begun in October 1999 to develop and implement community development in north New Georgia in the Western province, which involved UQ and the Queensland Government Department of Natural Resources. The project was begun at the request of Rev. Ikani Rove, the Spiritual Leader of the Christian Fellowship Church, to help rehabilitate forested land in order to ensure sustained commercial and environmental values. The RDTB is a charitable trust established in January 2000 under the Solomon Islands law and a Unit Trust of the Pacific Development Fund, a non-profit company established in Brisbane. Meetings were held in Honiara between the Solomon Islands PM Bart Ulufa`alu and his officials, Dr Jim Davie, Mr Ian Prentice (a Brisbane barrister with strong links to Solomon Islands) and Mr Grant Doran (chair of RDTB). Correspondence was subsequently exchanged between PM Ulufa`alu and the UQ VC Professor John Hay, and between the PM and the Government of Queensland concerning technical assistance.

In response, the Premier of Queensland requested a meeting with PM Ulufa`alu in Brisbane, and a meeting was held between Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Environment Mr Rod Welford, Mr Greg Young and Mr Phil Norman, Principal Scientists with the Department of Natural Resources, and Dr Jim Davie from UQ. The outcome was a request from Minister Welford for Mr Norman to establish a working party to determine an agenda for a Queensland Government technical response. In 15 March 2000 VC Hay responded to the PM by writing to the Executive Deans requesting that they consider their faculty’s participation in a UQ-wide working party to review the scope of activities that the university might bring to a negotiated relationship with the Solomon Islands Government. On 10 May the VC met with Dr Martin Sharp, the Australian High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, and a week later a further meeting was held between Mr Gordon Lilo, Gregory Young, Dr Peter Dart, and Mr Robert Ferraris, AusAID adviser on natural resource management in Solomon Islands. A meeting of the crossfaculty working group was held on 14 April 2000. Unfortunately, PM Ulufa`alu was remove by a coup in June 2000, which stalled further negotiations, but these were again taken up by the new PM Mr Allan Kemakeza.