The Tasmanian Government has delivered almost 160 pages of amendments to an Upper House committee enquiring into the landmark forest peace deal legislation.

They were unveiled just hours before the start of public hearings into the bill which would reduce logging in native forests, negotiated by industry and green groups.

The amendments detail the 295 parcels of native forest proposed for protection as part of the deal to end the conflict in Tasmania's forests.

The chairman of the inquiry, Huon MLC Paul Harriss, is viewing the last-minute changes with scepticism and says they will prolong the inquiry.

"It's a, I would have thought, a pretty obvious attempt by the Government to appease the members of the Legislative Council, all of us, who had some concerns during the debate.

"It is inevitable that we will now have many people back before the committee who are appearing before the committee this week, once they get their mind around the Government's new proposals as well," Mr Harriss said.

The Resources Minister, Bryan Green, has defended the late amendments, saying the Government has simply given MLCs some of the details they have been demanding in order to vote on the bill.

"This is simply about being transparent so they have all the information at hand, particularly with respect to their own communities if there are to be reserves put in place," the Minister said.

"People are suggesting that these amendments are massive and all the rest of it, they are not.

"The amendments themselves are effectively just change from words in the bill from protection order to the schedules as attached so it's not a material change."

Elwick MLC Adriana Taylor is refusing to vote on the legislation until a study is conducted into the social and economic impacts of the peace deal on communities.

Government bureaucrats today told the inquiry that a study had already been commissioned by the Commonwealth and it was expected to be completed by the end of the month.

The development took Paul Harriss by surprise.

"That was quite an unbelievable disclosure," he said.

Terry Edwards of the Forest Industries Association is concerned about the implications of the amendments.

"The Legislative Council will now be able to pick and choose which reserves to have and which not to have; which boundaries will be there and which won't," he said.

The Forest Contractors Association has raised the prospect of more jobs in timber processing under the peace deal.

Spokesman Ken Padgett told the inquiry the collapse of the former timber giant Gunns had freed up plantation estates that could provide a future for forestry.

"It's probably around 70, 75 per cent plantation, 25 per cent native forest, I see that.

"I see the numbers being somewhere around five million tonnes per annum in terms of total wood tote.

"Well currently in this state, I think we're cutting around 1.2 to 1.3 million," he said.

The Upper House committee will hear from Environment Tasmania today.

Spokesman Phil Pullinger says the amendments will not have an impact on his submission to the inquiry.

But he says the deal's signatories need to confer on the changes.

"We haven't had the chance to sit down as a group of all the signatories and provide some joint advice."

 

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