The register would establish national minimum contact standards for telemarketers, on matters such as permitted calling hours, minimum information requirements and termination of calls.
The standards would apply to all telemarketers in Australia and overseas telemarketers representing Australian companies.
"A Do Not Call register, open to individuals and small businesses, will enable people to opt out from receiving unsolicited telemarketing calls," said the minister for the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA), senator Helen Coonan.
"Once a telephone number is registered, it will be prohibited for telemarketers to contact that number.
"However, in recognition of the need for some organisations with underlying public interest objectives to make unsolicited calls, a limited range of exemptions will apply, for example, to charity groups and people undertaking social research.
"Exemptions will also apply to companies with an existing business relationship with an individual, for example with existing accounts or contracts."
The register would cost over AU$33 million to establish, according to the government. Of this, the government would contribute AU$17.2 million, with the remainder to be met by industry.
Individuals and small businesses would not have to pay to register their telephone numbers, the government said.
However, telemarketers would contribute to the costs by the payment of subscription fees to access the register.
The government expects one million registrations in the first week of the register's operation and four million after its first year.