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Australia cuts number of firms to pay carbon tax

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia will levy a controversial carbon tax on about half the number of companies originally expected, a government list released on Friday shows, signalling a political strategy to limit the economic impact of the tax which starts on July 1.

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Australia will levy a controversial carbon tax on about half the number of companies originally expected, a government list released on Friday shows, signalling a political strategy to limit the economic impact of the tax which starts on July 1.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has pinned her government's survival on implementing the carbon price while hoping for a muted voter reaction to blunt a persistent opposition attack warning of higher prices, job losses and factory closures.

Australia's Clean Energy Regulator has named 294 companies will be liable for the A$23/tonne ($22.96/tonne) carbon tax, with electricity generators, steel makers and mining companies among the biggest emitters.

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