Burke's forestry cash lure

TASMANIA risks losing more than $177 million in federal funding earmarked for the forestry industry and regional development if the state's upper house makes major changes or delays a vote on key legislation.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke yesterday announced that the Commonwealth would pour another $62.5 million into the agreement signed by industry, environment groups and unions last month.

The state government will put in another $39.5 million.

The extra funding takes the total cost of the Tasmanian Forest Agreement to $379 million, of which about $140 million has already been spent.

Signatories to the forestry peace deal were satisfied that the extra money was enough to make the agreement work.

Mr Burke made the announcement after briefing MLCs who are debating legislation to enact the agreement.

He warned them that the extra money would be off the table if they put off the vote or passed amendments that were not in line with the deal.

"We'd be dealing with completely different foundations," Mr Burke said.

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