Domestic violence register won't work: ALP

By Sam McKeith
AAP
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Domestic violence register won't work: ALP

The NSW opposition says the proposed state domestic violence offender register will not work.

The NSW opposition says a proposed state register that records the names of domestic violence offenders will only work if it is part of a national scheme.

NSW Premier Mike Baird on Friday announced a re-elected coalition government would implement the register to help people find out if their partner has a violent past.

Speaking at the 2015 Sydney International Women's Day breakfast, Mr Baird said the register would be a pilot scheme based on a UK model, allowing people to request information from police.

He said the register would empower "decision-making about the future of relationships".

"We can't have a position where there are secrets anymore. We must have transparency and we must give women the choice to respond on the basis of knowledge of that information," Mr Baird told the 2000 guests in Redfern.

Labor's deputy leader, Linda Burney, said the state register needed to be part of a broader approach.

"A register is all well and good; it will not work unless it is a national scheme," Ms Burney told ABC radio on Friday.

She also called on Mr Baird to explain the closure of a number of women's refuges in NSW.

Minister for Women Pru Goward said under the scheme, domestic violence information would be available on request from police to a victim, potential victim, or a third party with a reasonable belief a friend or family member was at risk.

A spokeswoman for Ms Goward said the NSW Department of Justice would determine the finer details of the scheme, if the government was returned.

In addition to the register, a re-elected Baird government will appoint its first dedicated minister charged with preventing domestic violence and sexual assault - a national first.

Mr Baird said the minister for women would also be minister for the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault.

This year's International Women's Day on Sunday marks 20 years since the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a global roadmap for women's rights.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley likes the scheme but wants it to be national.

"This will need to be done nationally," he told reporters on the state's far north coast.

"Labor is attracted to the idea of a record of men convicted of domestic violence offences and the ability of women to access that information."

He said as premier he would elevate the issue to the COAG agenda.