Fire bugs to face longer minimum jail time

People who deliberately start bushfires in NSW will now face a minimum jail term of nine years.
People who deliberately start bushfires in NSW will now face a minimum jail term of nine years.

The minimum jail term for people who start bushfires in NSW is set to nearly double from five years to nine years.

The state government on Wednesday announced it would amend laws to increase punishment for those convicted of intentionally causing a fire with recklessness to its spread on public land or private property.

The maximum penalty for the bushfire offence was lifted to 21 years' imprisonment last November.

"With another hot and dry summer around the corner, it is important there are strong laws in place to protect farmers and communities who are already struggling because of the drought," NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said in statement.

Mr Speakman believes the increased standard non-parole period would act as an additional deterrent.

"Our police, more than ever, are equipped with technology and techniques to catch fire bugs. This will send a very clear message," he later told reporters.

"This will put an increase in the typical sentence people will receive."

Australian Associated Press