PREFERENCE negotiations between the federal ALP and the Greens for the election due later this year have begun, although parties involved have denied any connection with negotiations over Tasmanian forests.
The conservation movement wants protection for about 500,000 hectares of forests, including a World Heritage nomination for 130,000 hectares in the peace agreement, and without it is likely to reconsider its support.
At the 2010 election, where the Gillard Labor government scraped back into office with the assistance of Greens preferences and support from independent MHRs, Labor and the Greens had negotiated a preference swap in the Senate and in House of Representatives marginal seats.
As it turned out 78.54 per cent of Greens preferences went to Labor candidates in the House of Representatives.
Key industry figures believe the state's forestry settlement is being driven at a ministerial level by the Labor-Greens negotiations over preferences, at a time when some Labor figures want more distance put between the two parties, and while the Greens vote nationally has declined.
Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke has warned the Legislative Council that a delay in the World Heritage nomination, caused by its inquiry, was adding ``complications''.
Industry players in recent weeks have circulated opinion, promoting the notion of a correlation between the preference deals and the forestry settlement.
This has been denied, although sources admit there are negotiations over preferences taking place between Labor and the Greens, as would be expected in an election year.
The federal government is trying to have the forest peace deal wrapped up by February.