Australian prime minister John Howard’s forests policy in Tasmania has landed him at the centre of corruption allegations.

The allegations focus on the government’s agreement to pay A$4m to a state forestry company with strong union influence following Mr Howard’s success in last year’s elections.

Mr Howard won support from the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union during the election on the back of promised help for the industry. The money was pledged to the Forest and Forest Products Employment Skills Company, which is heavily promoted by the union.

The prime minister has denied any wrongdoing, saying there was nothing wrong with training money being made available to a company jointly controlled by unions and employers.

Bob Brown, leader of the Greens, said Mr Howard was guilty of becoming involved in a corrupting process to achieve support from loggers and gain publicity in the final week of the election.