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Australia upgrades travel alert for New Caledonia

Dominic Giannini -

Australia has heightened travel warnings for New Caledonia as civil unrest forced the declaration of a state of emergency in the French territory.

Three people have been killed and troops have been deployed after riots broke out and a curfew was imposed.

It followed a controversial reform passed by France's parliament allowing French residents who have lived in the territory for more than 10 years to vote in local elections.

The Australian government has called for calm and has upgraded its travel advice, warning people to reconsider their need to travel.

"The government has also increased the overall level of advice for New Caledonia and now advises travellers to exercise a high degree of caution," Foreign Minister Penny Wong said on Thursday.

The curfew remains in place in New Caledonia and the international airport has been closed.

Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Simon Birmingham also called for calm and peace.

"We remain concerned by the present situation, by the distress faced by many in New Caledonia and urge those responsible for violence and disruption to cease," he said.

Dominic Giannini - AAP

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