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