• US Marines of Marine Rotational Force - Darwin 2019.
    US Marines of Marine Rotational Force - Darwin 2019. Defence

Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds has confirmed that the 2020 US Marine Corps rotation to Darwin (MRF-D) will now go ahead.

The rotation was originally cancelled in early April due to coronavirus restrictions. At the time, Minister Reynolds indicated that she would consider a delay subject to conditions improving.

Conditions, it would seem, have improved: in a conversation with US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Minister Reynolds said that a modified deployment will now go ahead, although a date was not specified.

“After careful consideration, the government has decided that a modified 2020 Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D) can proceed later this year, adhering to strict measures in place to protect against COVID-19,” Minister Reynolds said. “The decision was based on Australia’s record to date in managing the impacts from COVID-19, as well as strict adherence by deployed US Marines to the mandatory 14-day quarantine and other requirements.”

Minister Reynolds also noted that special provisions will be made for Indigenous communities in the Territory.

The NT banned non-essential travel to remote communities as a protection against the novel coronavirus a week before the federal government invoked the Biosecurity Act to protect Indigenous communities across the Commonwealth.

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