ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr has welcomed commitments from federal and state leaders to protect privacy and human rights as part of a package of tough new national security measures.
Mr Barr was a lone voice for civil liberties in a press conference with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and state leaders in Canberra on Thursday, raising privacy concerns as the meeting agreed to share drivers' license information for a new national facial biometric matching capability database, available to security agencies for counter-terrorism efforts.
The plan promises to provide near instant identification of criminal suspects or victims of terrorist activity, a process which currently takes as long as 10 days to facilitate between governments.
Mr Turnbull dismissed suggestions the database could lead to a mass surveillance of Australians, arguing instead it will update law enforcement tools currently being used across the country.
After the special national security focused meeting finished, Mr Barr said he respected premiers and chief ministers were acting more "in sorrow than anger" to further increase anti-terror protections in Australia.
The plan wouldn't breach territory human rights legislation, he said.
"The ACT supports additional measures to protect the community and we're pleased the Commonwealth has agreed to protect individuals' privacy and human rights as part of this process," he told The Canberra Times.
"The ACT will agree and sign up to the Intergovernmental agreement on identity matching services, acknowledging that in some cases the move will help ACT Policing's capacity to investigate offences ranging from identity crime to counter terrorism related issues.
"To ensure the implementation of this capability, which will allow law enforcement agencies to access passport, visa, citizenship and driver licence images does not limit human rights, the ACT has requested restrictions on the capability which has been agreed to by the federal government."
Mr Barr said the restriction would ensure only one-to-one matches can be accessed by law enforcement agencies, rather than one-to-many searches for general crimes.
"Under this approach, only a 100 per cent match of an individual that law enforcement agencies are investigating can have their information accessed.
"The one-to many searches can only be utilised for national security reasons," he said.
The Queensland government wants the system in place in time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
The ACT also agreed to proposed amendments to parole and bail terms for suspects in terrorism cases.
Mr Barr said the plan had been signed off in June and the ACT has begun providing input into the Counter Terrorism Legislation Taskforce.
"We will need to carefully consider a range or implications that could result from this measure, including how they apply to children, rights to appeal and what offences they are applied to, and this work will continue," he said.
The meeting also agreed to create new Commonwealth offences for terrorism hoaxes and for people found to be in possession of the instructional material for terror acts.
State and territory leaders agreed to expand the phone-based national emergency alert warning system to make it available to authorities during a national security incident.
The system is currently used in natural disasters and other major emergency events.