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Chief Executive-elect welcomes endorsement of proposed reorganisation by Chief Executive in Council

     The Chief Executive-elect (CE-elect), Mr C Y Leung, welcomed the Executive Council's endorsement of the proposed reorganisation of the next-term Government today (May 4).

     Mr Leung also thanked the Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, and the current Government for their full co-operation in soliciting the support of the Legislative Council (LegCo) for timely implementation on July 1.

     Mr Leung said, "In the course of campaigning, I listened widely to the views and expectations of our people and various sectors of Hong Kong. To address their concerns, my manifesto has proposed a series of major initiatives covering housing, poverty alleviation and economic development under the principle of 'seeking changes while preserving stability'. For these initiatives to materialise at an early date, we need a suitable government structure. My manifesto was issued in batches for community-wide consultation since last December. The final version that I came up with is a collection of the views of the general public.

     "Over the past month or so, the CE-elect's Office has been refining the reorganisation proposals with the current government and civil service bodies via the Chief Executive's Office. The proposals to be submitted to LegCo for scrutiny have therefore incorporated the views of civil servants.

     "With reorganisation, the politically appointed team would be able to better reach out to the public. They can formulate policies and plans that address the people's concerns and strengthen co-ordination of cross-cutting policy areas. I hope that LegCo will approve the proposals as soon as possible so that the next-term Government can address livelihood concerns in a timely and effective manner, and better capitalise on the opportunities arising from the economic development of our country and the rest of the world."

     The proposed reorganisation covers four major areas. First, it would create the posts of Deputy Chief Secretary for Administration (DCS) and Deputy Financial Secretary (DFS) to share the workload of the Chief Secretary for Administration (CS) and the Financial Secretary (FS) respectively, to oversee and co-ordinate the co-operation between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and the Mainland, as well as a number of cross-cutting policy issues, and to formulate comprehensive and long-term projects.

     At present, the span of control of the CS is very wide. The CS has to supervise nine policy bureaux, the Efficiency Unit and the Administration Wing, in addition to playing an active role in Guangdong-Hong Kong economic co-operation, co-ordination of population policy, development of the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD), and the operation of the Community Care Fund. The DCS would be tasked with assisting the CS in co-ordinating policy formulation and implementation in policy areas pertaining to human resources, including education, manpower planning and development, welfare planning, retirement protection and culture. The CS would then focus more on co-operation and exchanges between the HKSAR and the Mainland, constitutional development, population policy, poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

     Currently, the FS has overall responsibility for economic and infrastructure development, and the management of public finance. The FS supervises three policy bureaux, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Economic Analysis and Business Facilitation Unit. The DFS would be tasked with assisting the FS in matters relating to economic co-operation agreements signed with Mainland authorities and the formulation and implementation of policies relevant to the National Five-Year Plan, and supporting the further development of trade and industries, as well as technology and communications. The FS would then focus more on the further development of Hong Kong as a leading international financial centre and the premier offshore Renminbi business centre. He would review the management of public finance and the fiscal reserves in accordance with the CE-elect's manifesto, and oversee the formulation of longer term policies on housing, planning and lands, and transport, so as to promote economic development and enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong.

     Second, the proposed reorganisation would set up a new Culture Bureau (CB) to rationalise the existing efforts of various bureaux on the culture front. This would facilitate the formulation of a holistic culture policy, promote cultural activities and exchanges, nurture talents and cultural groups, and encourage community participation, with the ultimate objective of developing Hong Kong into a cultural hub with a distinct character. The CB would take over the Culture Branch, the WKCD Management Team, Create Hong Kong (CreateHK) and the Commissioner for Heritage's Office. It would also work with the Education Bureau to promote arts education within and outside schools in a well-co-ordinated manner, and partner with District Councils to popularise arts programmes at the district level.

     Third, the proposed reorganisation would restructure the existing Commerce and Economic Development Bureau (CEDB) into two new bureaux, namely the Technology and Communications Bureau (TCB) and the Commerce and Industries Bureau (CIB). This is to give full recognition to the importance of industrial development and technology in our economic development, and to provide more dedicated high-level leadership in developing Hong Kong's trade and key service industries.

     The new TCB would take over the existing Communications and Technology Branch of the CEDB (except for the CreateHK division, which would be put under the newly formed CB). It would be responsible for promoting innovative technology and communications in Hong Kong, including formulating a comprehensive technology policy to support the development of technology infrastructure; encouraging synergy among government and enterprises as well as research and academic institutions in research and development; and integrating the development of emerging industries in the Mainland with innovative technology in Hong Kong.

     The new CIB would take over the existing Commerce, Industry and Tourism Branch (CITB) of the CEDB, as well as the Transport and Housing Bureau (THB) policy responsibilities on the maritime, air and logistics industries. The CIB would have two branches. The Maritime, Aviation, Logistics and Tourism Branch would provide holistic support to promote the development of the maritime, aviation, logistics and travel industries in Hong Kong, so as to enhance their competitiveness and increase market penetration. The Trade and Industry Branch (TIB) would co-ordinate the implementation of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) between the HKSAR and the Mainland, notably in the trade in services and professional services with a view to promoting Hong Kong as an international trade and services centre.

     Fourth, the proposed reorganisation would restructure the existing Development Bureau (DEVB) and the THB into the Housing, Planning and Lands Bureau (HPLB) and the Transport and Works Bureau (TWB).

     Comprehensive and long-term planning is instrumental in maintaining a steady and adequate supply of land, which in turn underpins a steady and adequate provision of housing. The HPLB would combine the existing Planning and Lands Branch of the DEVB and the existing Housing Branch/Housing Department of the THB. By putting housing and land production under the same bureau, there would be better co-ordination in the timing of land supply to meet the demand for both public and private housing. The HPLB would also assume policy responsibilities for developing a long-term housing strategy and urban renewal as well as building maintenance and safety.

     The TWB would combine the existing Transport Branch of the THB (except policy responsibilities on maritime, air and logistics industries to be transferred to the CIB) with the existing Works Branch of the DEVB (except for policy responsibilities on heritage preservation, which would be transferred to the new CB). The TWB would be responsible for further improving the quality of public transport services, reviewing fare scales, accelerating the 10 major infrastructure projects, updating and implementing the Railway Development Strategy and exploring green transport modes. Given the interface between transportation and public infrastructure development works, the new bureau could effectively plan, manage and implement the works programmes and transport infrastructure to further enhance the economic development of Hong Kong and the connectivity and integration with the Mainland.

     The policy responsibilities of the other eight bureaux would remain unchanged. They are the Civil Service Bureau, the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, the Education Bureau, the Environment Bureau, the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau, the Food and Health Bureau, the Labour and Welfare Bureau and the Security Bureau.

     The proposed reorganisation would involve the appointment of six politically appointed officials and a number of political assistants, as well as the creation of six directorate and 45 non-directorate posts. The annual provision required would be around $72 million.

     Please refer to the Annex for the proposed organisation chart.

Ends/Friday, May 4, 2012
Issued at HKT 18:38


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