The photos of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi lying lifeless in the sand have put a face to the victims of a war that could otherwise be easily ignored in the West.
"And somehow it changes everything," Mr Baird said on Facebook.
"I turned away, but that image will never leave me.
"That photo isn't just a story of one tragedy.
"It is the story of thousands of real people in a fight for life itself."
Mr Baird said the crisis unfolding in Syria has been apparent for while, and simply "stopping the boats" would not mend it.
"But that photo. That little boy," he said.
"I found that as the feeling of anger dulled, my next response was ... surely we can do more.
"But what is 'more' and what does it look like?
"The scourge of illegal people smuggling has been well covered, and I won't rehash it all now.
"But I will say, it is a great thing that we don't have children drowning at sea trying to get to our shores.
"That has been a significant humanitarian achievement.
"But stopping the boats can't be where this ends. It is surely where humanitarianism begins."
The Prime Minister on Sunday announced Australia would open its borders to more Syrian refugees, but at the expense of asylum seekers of other nationalities.
The Federal Government will still accept the same total numbers of refugees each year.
Mr Baird said he would hold meetings with his federal counterparts to discuss NSW's role in housing more victims of the Syrian war.
"I will assure the PM that he can count on NSW to do whatever is needed," he said.
"The unfolding tragedy has a long way to run but my hope is that these terrible events will bring out the best in humanity - our humanity."
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