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All time high in Government's investment in infrastructure


A phenomenal investment of $600 billion will be spent on infrastructure development which is almost four times the amount spent on the Airport Core Programme.

Speaking at a press conference to outline the policy objective of the Works Bureau, the Secretary for Works, Mr Lee Shing-see, said today (October 13) that the total consisted of $400 billion on government capital works programme and $200 billion on railways.

Mr Lee noted that under the Government's capital works programme administered by the Bureau, there were 1,600 committed projects with total outstanding commitment of about $400 billion.

Major spending areas include highways, new towns and urban area development, environmental improvement, flooding control and buildings.

New Projects


"Among these 1,600 committed projects, there are 170 new projects with a total of about $90 billion. These new projects, together with a package of enhanced minor works programme, will provide a total of 20,000 jobs in the coming years," he said.

The key items include:

New Leisure, Culture- related (LCSD) Projects


64 projects on new or improved leisure and cultural facilities, such as district open spaces, parks, libraries, waterfront promenades, sports grounds, indoor recreational centres, swimming pools, etc. The total cost of these new projects amounts to $8.7 billion.

These new projects will provide a total of 6,000 jobs.

Final Phase of the School Improvement Programme (SIP)


Over $7 billion for the final phase of the School Improvement Programme covering 343 existing schools has been earmarked. The extensive improvement works under this phase will be implemented under a tight programme with works to commence in as early as 2002.

This final phase of SIP will provide 4,000 jobs.

Other New Projects


More than 100 new projects are in the pipeline to provide at least 5,000 jobs. They include:

* Shenzhen Western Corridor

* Central Kowloon Route

* In-situ reprovisioning of Sha Tin Water Treatment Works

* Rehabilitation and Replacement of Watermains, Stage 2

Enhanced Minor Works Programme


In recognition of the public aspiration in quick increase in job opportunities, much emphasis has been placed on minor works.

In the coming two years, it is also planned to spend an additional $4 billion on minor works. These minor works are labour intensive and require a very short lead time for commencing construction. They will not only uplift the standard of our existing facilities but, more importantly, also provide new job opportunities in the near term.

It is estimated that the enhanced minor works programme alone will create an additional 5,000 jobs very shortly.

The increased minor works include improvements to streetscape at prominent and tourist attraction areas, government buildings refurbishment, slope improvement and flood control.

Turning to another initiative of his Bureau, Mr Lee said: "We recognize the need to streamline our public works procedures so as to shorten substantially the lead time for project delivery to bring forward the creation of job opportunities.

"We are taking steps to simplify some of the public works procedures and to allow parallel actions to be taken in pre-construction activities," he said.

He noted that the measures specifically include parallel action on tendering and funding application procedure and parallel action between statutory gazetting and EIA procedures.

"All of these measures will be implemented before the end of this year," he said, adding that through the measures, the pre-construction lead time for a typical medium size engineering project would be shortened from 6 years to less than 4 years.

Mr Lee estimated that initially, about 100 engineering projects will benefit from the streamlined procedures and will bring forward creation of an additional 2,000 jobs per year starting from 2003.

Also, under the policy objective of the Works Bureau, the main thrust of its vision and mission in the years ahead include:

* promotion of the exchange of construction technology and expertise in public works between Hong Kong and the Mainland;

* promotion of electronic services delivery for works projects;

* improvement in the safety of slopes in the territory (By 2000, the Bureau has reduced the overall landslide risk from old man-made slopes to less than 50 per cent of the 1977 level, and by 2010, the risk of landslide will be further reduced to below 25 per cent upon completion of the extended Landslip Preventive Measures (LPM) Programme.), and, more importantly,

* to serve as leading agency within the Government to drive and co-ordinate with relevant bureaux and departments of the implementation of the recommendations of the Construction Industry Review Committee (CIRC). (The Committee published its report in January 2001 and recommended 109 improvement measures aiming to substantially life the quality and cost-effectiveness of the construction industry. The proposed measures cover a wide range of subjects including quality culture, construction procurement, manpower development, innovation, productivity, safety, environment and institutional framework.)

End/Saturday, October 13, 2001


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