Opposition leader Tony Abbott says Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is a "fabricator" for telling Australians he will terminate the carbon tax.

"He's not the terminator, he's the exaggerator. He's not the terminator, he's the fabricator," Mr Abbott told reporters in Launceston on Tuesday.

Mr Rudd earlier announced Australia would move from a fixed to a floating carbon price when it links up to the European emissions trading system (ETS) in mid-2014, a year earlier than expected.

The move will cost $3.8 billion but the Labor government has laid out savings to fill the budget gap and says the average household will be about $380 a year better off.

Mr Abbott says the coalition will study the details of the government's announcement.

But he rejected Mr Rudd's claim the government was terminating the carbon tax, saying all it was doing was bringing forward former prime minister Julia Gillard's carbon tax changes by 12 months.

"He's changed it's name, but he hasn't abolished the tax," Mr Abbott said.

Mr Abbott said Mr Rudd was being "deeply misleading" because the government had yet to negotiate Australia's entry to the European emissions trading scheme.

As well, it would put the local economy "at the mercy of bureaucrats in Brussels".

"He hasn't told us that the Eurocrats are now looking at schemes to increase the European price of carbon to some $70 a tonne by 2020," Mr Abbott said.

Australia's fixed carbon price is currently $24.15 a tonne and was due to rise to $25.40 by mid-2014.

Under the shift to an ETS, the initial market based price would be $6 a tonne.

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