Australia will send two government-assisted flights for citizens and other tourists to depart New Caledonia as riots and unrest mar the French territory in the Pacific.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong confirmed Australia had received clearance for two flights after the international airport was shut down.

“We continue to work on further flights,” she wrote on social media platform X on Tuesday.

“Passengers are being prioritised based on need.”

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Australia’s Consul-General in New Caledonia Annelise Young posted on X her team had been working “round the clock with teams in Canberra and Paris and closely with the French authorities to ensure safe passage for Australian tourists”.

Senator Wong spoke with her New Zealand and French counterparts on Monday to request access to the territory.

The Australian Defence Force was on standby to assist and were ready to fly as soon as they were permitted, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said.

A New Zealand government plane will also head to New Caledonia on Tuesday morning, Foreign Minister Winston Peters confirmed.

“New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days and bringing them home has been an urgent priority for the government,” Mr Peters said.

“In co-operation with France and Australia, we are working on subsequent flights in coming days.”

The New Zealand flight on Tuesday will carry about 50 passengers with the most pressing needs back to Auckland.

About 300 Australians have registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs in New Caledonia.

At least six people have died and hundreds more were injured after violence erupted last week following controversial electoral reforms passed in Paris.

Some 270 rioters have been arrested and a curfew from 6pm to 6am is in place.

France has sent in 1050 security personnel with hundreds more to join on Tuesday in a bid to quell the unrest.

The reopening of the international airport for commercial flights will be reassessed on Thursday.

Australia has urged people to reconsider their need to travel to New Caledonia. Those in the territory have been advised to limit their movement.

Source: AAP