Victorian and ACT police have been put on alert as part of a search for a convicted murderer, who has been on the run for almost a day in southern New South Wales.

There have been no confirmed sightings of Adam James Bowhay since he escaped while doing community work in Cooma.

He is serving a 23-year sentence for murder in 1997.

Commander Shane Box says schools in Cooma have been notified and there is a heavy police presence in the area.

"He is serving a sentence for murder so we do describe him as dangerous," he said.

"We suggest that if anyone does see a person fitting his description they should contact triple zero immediately and police will respond."

Officers from the Australian Federal Police are helping in the search which is focusing on bushland in the Cooma area.

Inspector Neil Grey says interstate police forces have been notified in case Mr Bowhay crosses the border.

"It hasn't been a great deal of time since he absconded yesterday," he said.

"Obviously we cover all bases."

The 34-year-old was recently refused parole after a recommendation he take part in more external leave.

He had also progressed to the lowest security classification.

Bowhay is described as being of Caucasian appearance, about 184 centimetres tall with a bald head.

He is clean-shaven and has tattoos around his neck, upper arm and legs.

Bowhay was last seen wearing a fluorescent yellow shirt and blue and green King Gee-brand long pants.

Anyone who sees him is asked to call triple-0

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