7 Dec 2011

PNG Treasurer delivers budget

5:42 am on 7 December 2011

Papua New Guinea's government has delivered a $US4.8 billion budget, the largest in the nation's history.

It was already delayed two weeks amid political lobbying ahead of a Supreme Court ruling on the legitimacy of the O'Neill government.

Treasurer Don Polye told parliament that the budget would reduce tax and tariffs on food, while providing free education to the majority of the nation's school students.

In his first budget speech since he became treasurer in August, he said the budget's theme is about sharing PNG's wealth and empowering people.

Today, parliament is to debate and vote on the budget amendments.

On Friday, the Supreme court is expected to hand down its verdict on whether Prime Minister Peter O'Neill and his government were constitutionally elected in early August.

If ruled unconstitutional, PNG could see a return to the government of Sir Michael Somare.