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Two women scaled the spire of the Arts Centre in Melbourne on Friday and unfurled a #LetThemStay banner Screenshot/7 News Melbourne

Update 19/2/16 5pm: The climbers are back on the ground. Patchett and Woskett have released a statement, saying they were grateful to the police for their handling of the situation. They will not be charged.

Update: The Arts Centre has said they will not press charges against the climbers

A search and rescue team are preparing to scale the Melbourne Arts Centre on Friday afternoon after two female protestors climbed up the building’s spire in an act of protest against the deportation of asylum seekers to Nauru.

The women, identified as 25-year-old Katherine Woskett and 22-year-old Hannah Patchett, had made their way up the 162 metre-high spire at 3.30am. They were first spotted by Arts Centre security guards as they were making their ascent.

At approximately 8am, the women reportedly unfurled a banner that said ‘#LetThemStay’, the hashtag used by protestors and rallies across Australia demanding the government not send the 267 refugees currently in Australia back to offshore detention centres.

Each was equipped with a special climber’s hammock, with The Age reporting that one woman was wearing an adult nappy while the other has a bucket for any toilet emergencies.

They had refused to speak with police, who considered climbing up the tower the “last resort”.

More protestors with #LetThemStay signs joined them on the ground, wearing face masks showing Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton.

According to Senior Sergeant Dean Delle-Vergini, the protestors were disrupting the Art Centre’s preparations for Saturday’s White Night Melbourne event, a state government initiative to showcase art and culture in public spaces.

The Whistleblowers Activist Citizens Alliance (WACA), who identified both women, said Woskett and Patchett were acting in support of Brisbane doctors at the Lady Cilento Hospital, who were refusing to release one-year-old girl, Asha, for fear she would be deported to Nauru.

WACA’s Helen War told 774 ABC Melbourne that both women were professional climbers and the same masterminds behind a stunt that stopped traffic on the city’s Eastern Freeway last week. The women had abseiled from the Yarra Bend Bridge before releasing a #LetThemStay banner, refusing to budge even after authorities were called to the scene.

Art Centre climbers earn respect on social media as Turnbull rejects NZ offer

A number of organisations and users on social media have praised Woskett and Patchett for their act of bravery.

The protests come just weeks after the High Court dismissed an appeal challenging the Australian government's offshore immigration processing and resettlement program, dashing the hopes of hundreds of asylum seekers facing deportation.

There are fears the High Court decision will impact the lives of the 267 asylum seekers - 91 of whom are children, including 37 babies - currently living in Australia. Many of these refugees of have already settled into new communities, and include women who have been sexually assaulted on Nauru.

“The evidence is clear and it’s undeniable that Nauru is unsafe for women and children and sending them back would be torture,” senator Sarah Hanson-Young said. “We must create a fair and efficient system that will bring people here safely and integrate them into the community, so their families can flourish.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is expected to reject New Zealand’s offer to take in refugees who had tried to reach Australia.

According to the ABC, Turnbull said that while Australia appreciated the offer from NZ PM John Key, it maintains its commitment to not encourage any “marketing opportunities” for people smugglers.

"The election of the Labor government here in 2007 resulted in over 150,000 unauthorised arrivals, over 1,000 deaths at sea," Turnbull said. "It was a catastrophic failure of policy."

"We take into account what John [Key] has proposed, what John has offered, but we do so very thoughtfully, recognising that the one thing we must not do is give an inch to the people smugglers."