On 2 November 2016, the Bushfires Act (NT) was repealed and replaced with the Bushfires Management Act 2016 (NT).    Rather than give a detailed explanation of the new Act, I quote from the second reading speech of the Member for Daly, Mr Higgins the then Minister for Land Resource Management.  He said, when introducing the Bill on 21 April 2016:

This bill modernises and builds on the strengths of the existing legislation. It also draws on contemporary trends and approaches to fire management in other jurisdictions, and combines these with the successful bushfire management arrangements that have evolved in the Territory in recent years. It provides a custom framework designed to address the unique challenges of bushfire management in the Territory, while also addressing the gaps that have been identified in the existing act. …

A point of difference between this legislation and bushfire-related legislation in many other jurisdictions is its focus on planning and fire management rather than just fire exclusion…

The new legislation establishes a planning and mitigation framework across all of the Territory. It focuses on engagement with landowners and is designed to unlock the potential benefits of coordinated and strategic regional planning. It introduces a formal role for regional committees in regional planning and requires that all of the Territory will be supported by a series of regional bushfire management plans. These regional plans are guiding rather than prescriptive, and so do not create burdensome responsibilities for land managers

There is capacity, in circumstances where a significant risk of life or property has been identified, to prescribe mitigation actions in an area or on an individual property. This will only be possible following a detailed risk assessment process involving consultation with affected landowners and other stakeholders. In circumstances where a landowner, through failure to comply with a prescribed plan, continues to present a significant risk to others, it will ultimately be possible to enforce compliance with a prescribed property fire management plan…

The new legislation allows volunteers to be appointed as authorised bushfire volunteers. This will create a formal role for volunteer firefighters in the incident management structure and allow volunteers, by participation in the chain of command, to exercise the powers necessary to take part in a bushfire response.

I am particularly proud that the creation of authorised bushfire volunteers will also confirm the specific protection from civil and criminal liability while undertaking firefighting duties. This is an important step in improving support for our volunteers and ensuring they are adequately protected and not exposed to unacceptable levels of personal liability risk while contributing to this important community service.

The new legislation also provides authorised bushfire volunteers protection against dismissal or loss of employment benefits as a result of absence from work when requested by the Executive Director of Bushfires NT to attend large-scale high-risk wildfires. This is another important addition to the legislation that will ensure our volunteers do not suffer professional or employment loss as a result of their volunteering contribution during critical events. …

In summary, the Bushfires Management Act will continue the best aspects of its preceding legislation, strengthen support for volunteers and other stakeholders, and provide a comprehensive planning and mitigation framework uniquely suited to the land and bushfire management requirements of the Northern Territory.