Assistant Defence Minister Andrew Hastie says he is working “very closely” with the Tonga government to provide the aid it needs following an underwater eruption and tsunami.
It comes as 23 crew members onboard the HMAS Adelaide have contracted COVID-19 and are now in isolation.
“We have to take as much health precaution as possible, we’re working very closely with the Tonga government to make sure that we respect their sovereignty and we provide the aid that they desperately need,” Mr Hastie told Sky News host Chris Kenny.
“So, I think we’re coming alongside soon, if not already, and we’ll be unloading those ships very, very carefully to make sure that we maintain the health of the Tonga people.
“But we’re doing that in partnership with the US, the UK, Japan, and other countries and this is all part of Australia being a regional power and a good neighbour, looking after our close friends.”