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Fed: Greens call for police flying squads to combat arsonists

01 Feb 2009 2:57 PM

BRISBANE, Feb 1 AAP - As the cost of raging bushfires in Victoria continues to be counted, the Australian Greens have demanded the creation of special rapid response police teams to catch arsonists.

Party Leader Senator Bob Brown says many, if not most, bushfires in Australia are deliberately lit.

"We need police flying squads to ensure that arsonists know they will be caught very quickly," Senator Brown said.

"In my home state of Tasmania 99 per cent of the area that's been burnt since 1934 has been by man-lit fires.

"Due to the burning of coal, and climate change, we are into decades of worse bushfires and heatwaves - as we've seen in the past couple of weeks," he said.

Senator Brown said pyromania was a neurosis which needed to be recognised and the people who had it needed to be given assistance.

But he says there also needs to be a means by which the law can be applied to people who light fires and put other people's lives and property in danger.