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CE outlines new direction for Hong Kong in Policy Address (with photos)

    The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, has today (October 10) outlined a new direction for Hong Kong's development in his first Policy Address of the Third Term Government.

     Speaking at the Legislative Council, Mr Tsang said he had full confidence in the city's future.
     "The rise of our country brings new opportunities. It also ushers in a new era for Hong Kong," Mr Tsang said in his Policy Address entitled 'A New Direction for Hong Kong'.

     "Over the next five years, we need to cultivate a new spirit for these new times. We need to become new Hongkongers, better equipped to sustain developments in the new era.

     "To capitalise on these opportunities, we all have to set new goals. We need vision, but, more importantly, we need practical plans to achieve that vision."

     He set out three 'guiding principles' to realise his vision over the next five years:

* Promoting economic development as a primary goal;
* Promoting sustainable, balanced and diversified development; and,
* Enhance social harmony to facilitate social mobility, help the poor, create job opportunities and promote a caring culture in the community

     The Chief Executive advocated the concept of 'Progressive Development' to achieve these goals.

     "By 'Progressive Development', I mean overall progress rather than economic development alone," he said.

     "Apart from economic benefits, we should strive for benefits to culture, the society and the environment. Progressive Development emphasises sustainable, balanced and diversified development."  

     Mr Tsang said all sectors of the community had a role to play in Progressive Development.

     "We should take a practical look at the respective responsibilities of the Government, enterprises and individuals," he said.

     He said the Government's role was mainly to formulate policies conducive to sustainable economic development so every citizen had the opportunity to share the fruits of prosperity and progress.

     He urged enterprises to look beyond their economic role in society and shoulder social responsibility in areas such as wage protection, environmental protection, heritage conservation and building a caring society.

     And he said individuals should seize the opportunities to fully equip themselves to move with the times, embrace the new economy and meet the demands of a changing world.

     The Chief Executive outlined five main areas that would help Hong Kong rise to a new level of development and meet the challenges ahead.  

* Undertaking 10 major infrastructure projects for economic growth. The projects included new rail and road links to boost connectivity with the Mainland and enhance Hong Kong's transport network, the West Kowloon Cultural District, a new cruise terminal at Kai Tak, and new development areas in the northern New Territories.

* Developing a quality city with quality life by improving the living environment, enhancing heritage protection and revitalising historic buildings, promoting cultural and creative industries and introducing new food safety laws and standards.      

* Investing in a caring society by returning wealth to the people through tax cuts and a rates rebate, promoting the development of social enterprises, providing more training and retraining opportunities, alleviating poverty and improving services for the elderly.

* Optimising the demographic structure and attracting talent by expediting the development of human capital and promoting healthy ageing. The Government will provide 12 years of free education from the 2008-09 school year, introduce small class teaching where appropriate and boost Hong Kong's position as a regional education hub. A comprehensive review of the health care system will also be carried out.

* Developing democracy and enhancing governance by collating and summarising public views received during the consultation on constitutional development and submitting a report to the Central Authorities that faithfully reflects the community's views. The Government will also allow all District Councils to manage some facilities in their areas, increase funding for minor district works projects, and boost support to District Officers so they are better equipped to deal with grassroots issues. Promoting the Basic Law and national education will be further strengthened.  

     "For these strategies to succeed, the Government, enterprises and individual citizens must each play their part," he said.

     "We all need to be pragmatic and proactive in shouldering our respective responsibilities.  

     "When people from different social strata and age groups, and people of different political views, all strive for progress and advancement, we will embark upon a new journey for a golden decade.

     "Hong Kong will progress into a more brilliant world city."

Ends/Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Issued at HKT 13:01


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