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HomeIssue 22US Marines Rotation postponed, but what about Pine Gap?

US Marines Rotation postponed, but what about Pine Gap?

The US Marine Rotational Force deployment to Darwin, due in April, has been postponed, due to COVID-19 restrictions.


This was announced by Defence Minister Linda Reynolds yesterday afternoon.


“Any decision in relation to the 2020 MRF-D in no way affects Australia’s commitment to host next year’s, or subsequent, MRF-D rotations,” said Minister Reynolds.


She said the Government is committed to supporting Australian defence industry during this difficult time, including businesses in the Northern Territory.


Meanwhile, there is no such clarity on the movements of personnel in and out of Pine Gap, although on the face of it incoming personnel should be going into mandatory 14-day quarantine.


To questions from the Alice Springs News, The Department of Defence says only that the facility, as with Defence more broadly, “is adapting its policy and procedures as required to ensure compliance with the latest Government advice in relation to COVID-19.


“This is important for the protection of Defence personnel and critical operations as well as for the wellbeing of the Australian public more broadly.”

Defence cases, almost inevitably, continue to grow: there were 25 as of yesterday, six last time we reported on 21 March, but still none in the NT.

– Kieran Finnane



  1. The arrival in Alice Springs of US personnel to work at Pine Gap is a cause for concern. The USA is experiencing a high rate of infection with COVID-19, including within its armed forces (although their authorities are reluctant to provide precise figures of the numbers and locations of cases).
    There should be no exceptions to quarantine requirements placed on all arrivals from overseas. Border Force must be scrupulous in applying the rules to each and every individual arriving, regardless of rank. There is too much at stake – particularly for the first nation community.

  2. Nick: “Border Force must be scrupulous in applying the rules to each and every individual arriving, regardless of rank.”
    Maybe we should concentrate on a safer control of our borders which is really a joke, and not only here but across Australia and the world.
    Coronavirus is now linked to Qantas baggage handlers at Adelaide airport.
    This a true story because it involved my family who was repatriated to France on the 31st.
    1. They left Adelaide for Perth.
    2. Their luggage was loaded onto a flight to Doha (no quarantine) and then onto to a flight to Paris.
    4. Loaded straight away to a train bound to Nice (no check-up, no quarantine).
    5. Nice to Toulon, two hours drive, picked up by family to drive to Saint Mandrier-sur-mer (no quarantine).
    I am very happy for my family to be back in France, but I am very curious / suspicious about this so call lockdown / quarantine.


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