2009-10 Policy Address by Chief Executive (12)

Youth Development

91. The family plays a pivotal role in the healthy development of young people.  Through the joint efforts of the Family Council and the Commission on Youth, the Government will help our young people to strengthen their body and mind to prepare for the challenges ahead. We will help them cultivate a positive approach to life and fulfill civic duties.  The Commission on Youth and other youth organisations will strengthen moral education for young people and help them realise their full potential through arts, cultural, sports and recreational activities. We will also give greater support to youth uniformed groups.

Internet Learning

92. In the digital age, our younger generation increasingly uses the Internet and electronic tools in their learning activities.   To mitigate the impact of the digital divide on the quality of learning, the Financial Secretary will co-ordinate the efforts of relevant bureaux to examine, through tripartite collaboration between the community, business sector and the Government, options to provide convenient and suitable Internet learning opportunities for students in need.

Sports Development

93. Hong Kong will host the 5th East Asian Games (EAG) in December.  This will be the first large-scale, multi-sports event to be held in Hong Kong. World-class athletes will compete in the Games.  Our own elite athletes, after strenuous training, will have the chance to shine in front of a home crowd.

94. The success of the EAG will be assured by the full participation of the community and our will to "Be the Legend".  About 400 000 teachers, students and parents from some 500 schools are taking part in the school torch relay programme; 6 000 volunteers have registered to assist in staging the Games and receiving guests and spectators; and the local business sector has pledged more than $100 million in sponsorship for the Games.

95. This grand event will contribute to the long-term development of our sporting culture and present new opportunities for our athletes and those aspiring to a career in sports.  It will also promote a healthy lifestyle among the wider community.

Elderly Services

96. There is no place like home. That is why most elderly people prefer ageing at home.  They need care from family members and support from neighbours.  It is our policy to encourage elderly people to age in place.

Residential Care Services

97. For those elderly people who cannot live at home because of health or family problems, residential care is important.  We know that our ageing population will create greater demand for subsidised residential care places, in particular those with nursing care.  The Government will adopt a novel multi-pronged approach to speed up the provision of subsidised residential care places that provide nursing or continuous care.  The new initiatives include:

(1) Increasing from 50% to 90% the proportion of nursing home places in existing subsidised contract residential care homes for the elderly;

(2) Purchasing, for the first time, vacant places from self-financing nursing homes and care and attention homes; and

(3) Making full use of the space in existing subsidised elderly homes to provide more places that offer continuous care.

98. These initiatives will substantially increase the number of subsidised residential care places that provide nursing or continuous care in the next five years.  We will continue to build new residential care homes for the elderly.  Five new contract homes will open in the next three years to provide additional subsidised places.

99. While the supply of subsidised residential care places is important, the service quality of these homes should not be overlooked.  We will launch a pilot scheme to provide these homes with visiting pharmacist services to enhance the knowledge and capability of their staff in drug management.

Ageing in Place

100. In addition, the Government will continue to devote resources to supporting those elderly people who live at home. In the next two years, we will provide additional subsidised day care places in districts with a stronger service demand, and extend the District-based Scheme on Carer Training to give greater support to carers of the elderly at district and neighbourhood levels.  We will also examine ways to improve the existing home care services and encourage more organisations to provide such services through the operation of social enterprises.

Active Ageing

101. Apart from strengthening elderly care services, we have all along endeavoured to promote the physical and mental well-being of the elderly. The Government has already allocated funds to establish the Elder Academy Development Foundation to develop the curriculum and learning structure of elder academies.  We will also provide a one-stop information service through a new and dedicated Internet portal for the elderly, which will enable them to pursue continuous learning, enlarge their social circles and lead a fruitful life.

(To be continued)

Ends/Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Issued at HKT 12:21