New Zealand woman found dead in Australia's Villawood detention centre

Villawood detention centre.
Villawood detention centre. Photo credit: Getty Images

A New Zealand woman has been found dead in an Australian detention centre, according to advocates and detainees.  

The Kiwi woman was found dead around 10:45am on Sunday at the Villawood detention centre in New South Wales.

She is believed to have killed herself, according to The Guardian. 

Spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition Ian Rintoul told the outlet the woman had been at the centre for around six months. 

"It seems to be another example of people with serious mental health problems being held in detention without the sort of mental health care they need," Rintoul told the Guardian. 

He said there's an epidemic of suicide attempts at the facility and an investigation is needed. 

Her death comes after an Iranian refugee tried to kill himself in April and there were two further serious attempts in May, Rintoul said. 

It is believed the woman's visa was cancelled under section 501 of the Migration Act, according to the outlet. 

501s are a point of contention between the New Zealand and Australian Governments but new leader Anthony Albanese could be set to change things. 

Before winning the election Albanese hinted he wanted to improve trans-Tasman ties. 

While Albanese said he would continue deportations under section 501 of the Migration Act which is currently in force, The Guardian reported the ministerial direction would be likely adjusted to ensure decisions will take into account how long a person has been in Australia.

Newshub revealed in March 96 percent of deportations to New Zealand are from Australia, and those deportees - known as 501s - have committed thousands of serious crimes since being sent back. 

Thousands of Kiwis living in Australia for several years have been sent back to New Zealand since 2015 after controversial changes were made to its Migration Act, causing deportees to become separated from families and contributing to New Zealand's gang problems.

The proposal would aim to address the policy that is deporting people who have lived in Australia for most of their lives. The changes would not require legislation to go through Parliament. 

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