Suspicious packages mailed to consulates in Australia: Man arrested

He is due to appear before Melbourne Magistrate's Court on Thursday morning, where police will allege he sent 38 parcels to consulates and embassies in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.

The arrest came hours after consulates in Melbourne were forced into lockdown having received suspicious packages in the mail.

Australian police are investigating suspicious packages found at foreign consulates and embassies in Melbourne and Canberra.

There has been no evidence yet that the packages were unsafe, but police Thursday said forensic testing was continuing to determine their exact contents.

The arrested man is expected to appear in a Melbourne court on Thursday, charged with sending risky articles through the post.

Officials from the Pakistani and New Zealand consulates said the packages had the word "asbestos" written on the side, the ABC reports.

The 48-year-old man was arrested at his Shepparton home on Wednesday night and charged with sending risky articles to be carried by a postal service.

"Police have identified all intended recipients and have put processes in place to recover the outstanding packages", the statement said.

Savas Avan appeared in a Melbourne court after being arrested at his home in rural Victoria state on Wednesday, the same day several consulates in Melbourne received the suspicious packages, authorities said.

"At this time we believe the matter is targeted and not impacting the general community", Victorian Police said on Wednesday.

The powder, contained in clear plastic bags within an envelope, was subsequently deemed not unsafe. Officials at the United States and Swiss missions in the city said they had also received packages.

It is understood the envelope, which looked like a normal letter, was addressed to the Consulate-General of Pakistan.

"Today [Wednesday] we received communication from the diplomatic body here in Victoria that there are suspicious packets circulating and that we should contact the police if we've received something and we have contacted the police", Botsiou said, translated from Greek.

Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs had raised the alarm with all diplomatic missions in Canberra on Tuesday after similar incidents were reported at offices in Sydney and the Australian Capital Territory.