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Transcript of CE's press conference on Policy Address (with photo/video)

     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, at the press conference on Policy Address at the Central Government Offices New Annexe today (October 13):

Chief Executive: I have just delivered this year's Policy Address.  It is much longer than my previous ones, as I wanted to detail what we are doing and what we are going to do to tackle the issues of housing, poverty and an ageing society.

    The number-one concern of the Policy Address is people's livelihood. In the wake of the financial tsunami, we took some immediate, one-off relief measures.  Now that the most difficult days are behind us, we should focus on the structural problems of our social development, such as housing, relative poverty and ageing.

     I believe increasing land supply is the key to approaching housing issues.  I have proposed ways to create a land reserve and explore new land resources.  I have also mentioned an enhanced subsidised housing scheme to help the sandwich class to realise their dream to own their own flats.

    We need targeted policies to fight poverty.  I propose to increase textbook assistance for students in need, and set up a $10 billion Community Care Fund.  This fund will become a powerful vehicle to help directly those among the poor whom our conventional social services are unable to reach.  It also fosters a partnership among the Government, the business sector and the community.  

     We need new ideas to deal with the growing ageing population in Hong Kong. I have put forward new proposals in areas such as ageing at home, community care and retirement in the Mainland.

     "Caring" and "sharing" are the two catchwords in this Policy Address.  We all call Hong Kong home.  At this home, we help those in need because we care.  At this home, we share, because I know, at the end of the day, sharing is the best way to enjoy our economic prosperity to the full.

    Thank you very much.

Reporter: On housing policies, you do not have any HOS flats being rolled out.  Your new scheme won't have any units completed until 2014 in Tsing Yi and the whole scheme would only involve 5,000 units anyway. You won't have any activation of legislation for Article 23 under your current term. Are you concerned that you are seemingly giving the impression that this current administration is actually dragging its feet and deferring all responsibilities to the next government?

Chief Executive: In this Policy Address, I have tried to tackle the really structural, difficult issues including, as you see, public housing policy, not only in the short term but into the longer horizon, tackling the fundamental long-term issues, medium-term issues and short-term issues. Also in terms of poverty, we look at it in the round. We look at the long-term problem of ageing, how we will resolve it and the proposed solution rests with a regional concept, how we're able to help make sure that elderly are able to age honourably, with dignity and with sufficient help from the rest of the community.

     On Article 23, I have said that although it is very much a constitutional duty of this administration, this has never been one of my undertakings in my manifesto for election in 2007, nor was it included in my first Policy Address of this term in 2007. What's more, I've been watching public sentiment very carefully throughout these years. I have not detected there is a major change in their concern about the problems that may arise during the enactment process. In other words, in the remaining time of my term I would much better devote my energies to resolving livelihood issues, social issues and the rest of the constitutional matters, which are quite a lot, which need to be tackled.

     As regards our housing policy, even if you build HOS it won't appear overnight. Let me tell you, it might even take longer than the scheme I have proposed, the one which is being undertaken by the Housing Society. And as I said, the starting number is 5,000, but if there is a market need for it over the longer term, we'll find more land for it, we can build more. The most important thing is it's embedded in the community, accepted by the community and is good for the community and not in competition with other sectors of the community. That is the purpose of it. I've not shied away from long-term problems. This is the way I look at it - I believe that service to the public must be a continuum. It must not be truncated by the terms of office of individual chief executives.  For that reason all the policies are for the longer term.  And I do believe that if we have any policy which is not good enough, it will be abandoned.  It will be abandoned by subsequent chief executives.  It will even be abandoned by myself if it doesn't work at all.  But if it is a good policy, which the population supports, whatever administration will continue this.  This is how I look at my drafting of this Policy Address.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)

Ends/Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Issued at HKT 16:49


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