The Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association’s says prosecutions are needed to deter people from deliberately lighting fires.
The call follows confirmation by Bushfires NT that several fires impacting Central Australian pastoral properties have been intentionally lit, and are being investigated with NT Police.
Bushfires NT has also warned landholders to prepare for worsening fire conditions with maximum temperatures in Central Australia unlikely to drop below 40°C during coming days.
However rural property owners could only do so much to prepare when fires were deliberately lit, NTCA CEO Ashley Manicaros said.
“Pastoralists have been preparing for the fire season for some time, but they can’t prepare for the illegal act of deliberately lighting a fire,” he said.
“Authorities have to start prosecuting those they catch with the full force of the law in order to get the message across.
“The public has a role to play in providing information and the NTCA encourages those who see something suspicious to pass on that information.”
Mr Manicaros said people should call 000 in an emergency and to report any suspicious activity relating to illegal fires to the NT Police Assistance Line on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Mr Manicaros said moving forward the management of all land to reduce the risk of out of control bushfires had to be addressed.
“We need a greater focus on non-pastoral lease property when it comes to reducing risk,” he said.
“There is no point us doing what we can but our neighbours aren’t.”