Defence Minister Senator Linda Reynolds has announced that the 2020 iteration of the U.S. Marine’s Darwin rotation will not take place as planned due restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, Senator Reynolds said that the decision was made following careful deliberation, although she emphasised that “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.”

She also said that “Australia will work with the United States to devise options for a possible later deployment, subject to conditions improving and the viability of such a deployment proceeding.”

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner has been “fully engaged” on this matter, with the minister reiterating to the Chief Minister that “the Government is committed to supporting Australian defence industry during this difficult time, including businesses in the Northern Territory.”

Earlier this month, a newsletter put out by the 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines’ commanding officer Lt. Col. Jason Goodale, an advance party of Marines currently in Okinawa, Japan, waiting to deploy to Australia will remain there until a “final decision” is reached.

The Marines had been expecting to be put under a 14-day quarantine order after arriving in Australia in early to comply government restrictions for incoming travellers. Approximately 2,500 Marines had been expected to be in Australia to be part of this years deployment.



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