Australian police have arrested a Roman Catholic priest on pedophilia charges, following months of negotiations to have him returned from the Vatican.

A police statement said the 67-year-old priest presented himself at Victoria state police headquarters in Melbourne on Monday. His name has not been made public.

The priest was charged with 10 counts of child abuse allegedly committed in Melbourne's outskirts between 1976 and 1985.

Police said they had been negotiating with the Catholic Church since July 2012 to have him returned to Australia.

Police said he was released on bail and will appear before a magistrate on Friday.