Prime Minister Julia Gillard has signalled possible Federal Government action to crack down on gun violence in western Sydney and unrest in Logan, south of Brisbane.
New South Wales police have set up a taskforce to investigate a double shooting in Wetherill Park yesterday that left a 45-year-old man dead and a 31-year-old in hospital.
In Logan, police have been forced to intervene in long-running racial tensions that have resulted in street clashes in recent days.
Ms Gillard has praised the efforts of police in responding to the violence, but says it is clear that further action is needed to deal with the problem.
"At this time, all levels of government need to be doing everything that can be done to address this violence," Ms Gillard said.
"So in that spirit, I have asked [Home Affairs Minister] Jason Clare to prepare for cabinet and for Government some options to address this violence and to explore the limits of the Federal Government's legal and constitutional responsibilities in this area."
There were dozens of shootings across western Sydney last year, with Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott at one point describing the violence as a "reign of terror on the streets of Sydney".
Ms Gillard says shootings in Sydney's south and south-west have become all too common.
"I am very concerned about the circumstances for communities in Sydney's west and more broadly," Ms Gillard said while addressing the .
The Coalition has consistently argued that cuts to the Customs service have been partly responsible for gun crime because it has allowed illegal firearms to more easily enter the country.
Opposition Customs spokesman Michael Keenan says today's announcement by the Prime Minister lacks the substance necessary to deal with the problem.
"They've identified and said they're going to look at a problem that they themselves have contributed significantly to creating," Mr Keenan told ABC News.
"For years, the Labor Party has systematically degraded federal law enforcement agencies, they've cut funding to those agencies, they've cut personnel from those agencies, and that has contributed to violence on our streets because it's given criminals a better chance of being able to smuggle contraband [onto our streets]."
He says the Government has also made cuts to the Australian Crime Commission and the Federal Police.
Mr Clare's office has not been able to elaborate on what options could be considered, although Ms Gillard has made clear that she does not want to interfere in the responsibilities of state governments.
Deputy Liberal leader Julie Bishop has panned Ms Gillard's announcement, describing it as a "populist" move in an election year.
"For Julia Gillard to raise the expectation of federal intervention in every neighbourhood dispute is populism at its worst," Ms Bishop told ABC News.
"I believe this is a matter of direct concern to local governments and state-based law enforcement agencies."
But former prime minister Kevin Rudd says there is a legitimate role for the Federal Government in helping to make communities safer, adding that "I don't think it's a place for politics".
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says he does not want the Federal Government's help to deal with the racial strife in Logan.
One of the families at the centre of the disturbances is now .
Mr Newman says the Prime Minister has other things to worry about and the dispute is a matter for local authorities.
"It sounds somewhat spurious to me and completely unnecessary. I assure Queenslanders the matter is well in hand," he said.
"I would suggest very politely that the Prime Minister has many issues that she does need to deal with - they have a very big budgetary problem they need to deal with."