Victorians would be able to access information about convicted sex offenders living in their neighbourhood under a policy being taken to November’s state election by the opposition.
Under the Coalition’s plan, people would be able to apply to access descriptions, photographs and the current suburb of anyone convicted of serious sex offences.
They would also be able to check if someone who has close contact with their children had a history of sex crimes.
Those making inquiries would have to supply some of their own details before being able to see the information.
A dedicated commissioner would run the database and decide whether to grant access to individuals who applied.
It would cost $3 million to set up and run over the first four years, the opposition said.
Opposition spokesman Edward O’Donohue said the community had a right to know if offenders lived nearby.
“This is about protecting the community, about giving people in their individual neighbourhoods and suburbs the right to know if there are sex offenders amongst them,” he said.
He said checks and balances would prevent the register from being used to fuel vigilante justice, and that specific addresses of offenders would not be accessible.
“That is something we will guard against very seriously, and there’ll be significant penalties for those who undertake any sort of vigilante behaviour, but that’s why address details will not be provided,” he said.
“This is about providing that information in a controlled way that balances the competing rights that are at play her.”
Last year the Victorian government introduced new legislation into Parliament that would allow police to collect DNA and fingerprints from all registered sex offenders without a warrant.
Victorian federal senator Derryn Hinch has long been campaigning for a national register that provided names, photos and addresses of sex offenders.
Senator Hinch said a similar register was operating in the United States.