Prime Minister Tony Abbott says police have recovered more bodily remains from the MH17 crash site.

More bodies have been recovered from the MH17 crash site in eastern Ukraine.

A small team of Dutch and Australian police reached the site overnight after four previous failed attempts.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he had been briefed early on Friday morning (AEST) that it had been a successful mission.

“The team that had gone in … had been onto the site and had exited the site and, as I understand it, had recovered some more remains,” Mr Abbott told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

It is understood there are as many as 80 bodies still at the site.

The prime minister said the plan was now to send in a larger team within 24 hours.

“(The team will) really substantially begin the thorough professional search of the site to ensure remains are recovered, the investigation is assisted and justice can be done,” Mr Abbott said.

MH17 is believed to have been shot down by a surface-to-air missile fired by pro-Russian separatists, killing all 298 people on board including 38 Australians.

Mr Abbott said the police mission was risky, given the continued fighting between Ukrainian forces and separatists in the area.

But the government had taken the best expert advice and special envoy Angus Houston was “plugged in” to the international team involved in the mission.

“I am confident that this mission is as safe as it reasonably can be, under the circumstances.”

Following Clive Palmer’s comments that Australian police should be withdrawn because of the dangers, Mr Abbott said he did not lightly put personnel in harm’s way.

“But let’s not forget 298 innocent people have been murdered, 38 Australians have been murdered,” he said.

“We owe it to our dead to bring them back, we owe it to their families to bring them back and that is what the government is determined to do.”

The team, which also included members of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, paused for a moment’s silence at the crash site when they arrived, almost two weeks to the hour since the plane came down.

The drive, which normally takes one hour, took six hours because the group took a safer route.

Senior representatives from the Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE met in Minsk just after the successful mission.

A statement following the meeting said the senior representatives had committed to securing further safe access by international investigators to the crash site until their work on the spot was completed.

They agreed that within two days militants would ensure the safe travel of a train carrying the personal belongings of MH17 victims.

There was also agreement on the release of hostages, improved monitoring of the ceasefire and better control and verification on the border between the Ukraine and Russia.

Another meeting will be held next week.