Australia to tax top 500 polluters

AUSTRALIA will tax its 500 largest polluters under a controversial law introduced by Labour premier Julia Gillard.

She had pledged not to bring in a carbon tax during last year’s elections but has since reneged on that promise.

Australia is among the world’s worst greenhouse gas emitters by head of population because of its dependency on vast coal reserves to generate electricity.

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From July, Australia’s largest polluters will pay AUS$23 (£15) for every metric ton of carbon gases they produce.

Critics argue that Australian businesses will become uncompetitive because the carbon tax is too high, giving overseas rivals a cost advantage in the marketplace.

Ms Gillard had vowed not to push for a carbon tax last year, but has since said it is Australia’s best option after forming a minority government.