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NT’s Chief Minister ‘happy to help’ coronavirus evacuees in Darwin

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Chief Minister Michael Gunner has told the PM that Darwin is an option for coronavirus evacuees heading to Christmas Island if need be.

The Northern Territory Chief Minister says he is open to discussions with the Australian Government about the potential use of Darwin facilities for coronavirus evacuees.

The Commonwealth has confirmed it is identifying 'overflow' centres if Christmas Island reaches capacity as part of a contingency plan.

A worker's village, built by Japanese gas company, Inpex, is situated on the outskirts of Darwin within a rural area suburb and was last year gifted to the NT Government when it was no longer needed to house workers.

The NT Government has yet to decide what to do with the facility in the long term, and Chief Minister, Michael Gunner says he's open to discussions with the Commonwealth Government.

"When I spoke to the Prime Minister on the weekend, I did say to him do you need a hand?"

"We're happy to help, we want to make sure Australians are looked after, we want to make sure Territorians are looked after and safe."

Australians in Wuhan will be taken to Christmas Island for quarantine.

But Mr Gunner has clarified no formal request has been made.

"We obviously have the Inpex Workers Village there," he said.

"I understand that there's facilities in WA as well, there might be other facilities in other parts of the country but there's been no formal request made or formal trigger done into exploring the suitability of those locations."

The workers' accommodation village, named Manigurr-ma, cost $600 million to build and officially opened in 2013 ahead of construction of the Ichthys LNG plant.

Number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia according the Department of Health.

It sprawls over 75 hectares and could house up to 3500 workers during the peak of construction with rooms in accommodation dongas.

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The facility boasts basketball courts, gyms, a pool, a tavern and dining hall.

And is currently vacant.

"We'd be more than happy to talk to the Australian Government and if they were of a serious interest we'd go and look at it in greater detail," Mr Gunner said today.

Meanwhile, there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the Northern Territory, after all tests returned negative.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-northern-territory-chief-minister-offers-darwin-as-site-for-evacuees/8c4aa055-c04f-41ec-ad55-a75cca7da82f

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