After careful deliberation, the Government has decided not to proceed with the 2020 Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D) deployment at this time, given ongoing restrictions associated with COVID-19.
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.
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.
I remain fully engaged with Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner on this matter.
I have also reiterated to Chief Minister Gunner that the Government is committed to supporting Australian defence industry during this difficult time, including businesses in the Northern Territory.
Australia and the United States remain firmly committed to the benefits to regional security that the MRF-D brings.
Our ability to host such deployments, alongside the unmatched degree of interoperability we enjoy, is clear testimony to the enduring strength and sense of purpose of the Australia-US Alliance.