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Transcript of remarks by SLW on community housing and occupational safety and health
     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, at a stand-up media session after attending the 16th Hong Kong Occupational Safety & Health Award Forum and Award Presentation Ceremony today (September 20):
Reporter: (On community housing) Do you have any vision aside from the mid-term goal of three years, providing for more families? Do you have a goal of what kind of how this movement is going to contribute to helping the needy when it comes to living conditions?
Secretary for Labour and Welfare: Basically this is what we call a kind of shared economy, where for those who have units to make available would help those who are in need of housing. And there’s always a need for somebody to play the role of an intermediate, including in this case the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, to link up all the interested parties and professional bodies who are willing to help; at the same time to gather the needed resource for refurbishing these units, and then gather all the support from the NGOs (non-governmental organisations) who are able to provide support of implementing the programme. So this is in fact a kind of collaboration across various sectors. So, we hope through this, as a movement,we’d make full use of the existing vacant units in our community. We don’t have very clear data of how many such units would be available but we expect there should be more. In the long run, we hope that the NGOs, the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, and all those who have such units available for the community we can make it sustainable. Hopefully, it can grow a bit more and help more people.
Reporter: So there’s a chance there’s going to be more than 500 units available in three years?
Secretary for Labour and Welfare: We always hope for the best.
Reporter: Is your Bureau planning to implement stiffer punishment for work safety violations?
Secretary for Labour and Welfare: Occupational safety is a very primary concern of this Administration. I would say it is also a primary concern of the Bureau and the Labour Department. Therefore, any means that can reduce industrial hazards is of our primary concern. So we are considering increasing all those penalties. Even at the current moment within the existing legislation, what the Labour Department has been trying to do is to help, say in case of prosecution, the Labour Department will try its every effort to collect those needed information and provide to our judiciary to process, hopefully to make it a real punishment for those who are not doing what they should be doing. Furthermore, we are examining the possibility of increasing the punishment within our legislation. We hopefully will complete this part of work before the end of this year.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Issued at HKT 20:29
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