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Transcript of media session on reorganisation proposals for Government Secretariat (with video)

     Following is the transcript of a media session on the reorganisation proposals for the Government Secretariat at the lobby of West Wing, Central Government Offices, Tamar, this evening (May 4):

Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Stephen Lam: Well, today we have had two important meetings. During this afternoon the Chief Executive convened a special meeting of the Executive Council and the purpose was for the current-term Government's Executive Council to consider the reorganisation proposals put forth by the Chief Executive-elect, and the clear decision was we supported this package of proposals whole-heartedly. Our intention is that this set of proposals should now be put by the current-term Government to the legislature in the hope that the new team of the Government can all be sworn in in full on 1st of July.

     The second meeting was held just now. The Chief Executive-elect came and communicated with our heads of departments, and overall the heads of departments were supportive of the reorganisation proposals. They believed that there was room for our services to the public to be improved under the reorganised structure.

Chief Executive-elect, Mr C Y Leung: Thank you, Stephen. I'd like to put on public record my gratitude and gratitude of my CE-elect's Office colleagues to the Chief Executive, the Chief Secretary and the political appointees and also all the civil servants involved in this exercise for their efforts in the last three weeks to put together this package of proposals that will go down to the Legislative Council today or soon after. This is a rather rushed process because we want the Legislative Council to pass this before the end of June. So thank you very much, Stephen, and thanks go to the Chief Executive and the civil service colleagues as well.

     We just had a very useful meeting with heads of departments who, as Stephen just said, are supportive of the proposal. Myself and my colleagues of the CE-elect's Office will conduct similar discussion sessions with other parts of the civil service through civil service unions and staff associations.

Reporter: It's a related question for each of you gentlemen, if I could. Mr Lam, the whole process of setting up this reorganisation could be stuffed up by what's happening in the legislature, so is the Government willing to withdraw any legislation to ease this through, and, Mr Leung, if it doesn't go through, how seriously would it set back your reorganisation efforts?

Chief Secretary for Administration: Going back to your question, Francis, the timing is of course tight, but it is not much tighter than what we went through in 2007. After the Chief Executive Election in 2007, between March and the end of June, we also put forth a similar set of proposals to the Legislative Council, and that set of proposals got endorsed. We very much hope, and we will work hard in the next month and a half, to gain passage of this set of proposals in the Council. That's as regards the reorganisation package.

     As regards the current-term Government's legislative programme, all our bills have already been put to the legislature. Most of them have gone through or are going through bills committee proceedings, so we will continue to work hard and complete the undertakings which the current-term Government and the Chief Executive have given to the people of Hong Kong.

Chief Executive-elect: The impact of LegCo not passing the proposition before the 30th of June will mean a delay of anything up to or beyond six months, because LegCo will finish, practically speaking, its term in mid-July, and LegCo will not be reconvened as a new LegCo until October, and new committees will be formed and there will be long holidays at Christmas, New Year and Chinese New Year. So our assessment is that if we do not get it approved in June, which is two months' time, we probably have to wait until April. And I know a lot of people in Hong Kong are waiting for the new Government to get things done and to deliver, particularly on the question of housing. One of the reorganised bureaus is called Housing, Planning and Lands because we want to put these three parts of government¡¦s very important functions into the same bureau so that planning, city planning of Hong Kong and the creation of land and the production of housing units are under the charge of one bureau secretary. If we don't get this done by June, the new Government will probably have to wait until next April, and it's a delay of six months, eight months. So I know people talk about, or bemoan about, the fact that housing production has become slower and slower in recent years, and I simply do not want to add or to lengthen the production process.

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

Ends/Friday, May 4, 2012
Issued at HKT 21:55


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