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Opening remarks by SDEV at press conference on initiatives of Development Bureau in 2013 Policy Address (with video)

     Following is the opening remarks by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, at the press conference today (January 17) on policy initiatives in 2013 Policy Address:

Ladies and gentlemen,

     A top priority of the current-term Government is to increase land supply. As set out in the Policy Address, our vision to ensure adequate land supply and build up an abundant "land reserve" so as to meet future demands in a timely manner and improve people's living space. To this end, the Government will continue to adopt a multi-pronged approach in identifying suitable land for development. This includes optimising the use of developed land to make available land in the short to medium term, and to develop new land extensively to increase land supply in the longer term.

     To meet the housing demand of our society in the short to medium term, we are implementing, or will implement, 10 measures. These include converting 36 Government, Institution or Community (GIC) and other Government sites, 13 Green Belt sites, and 16 industrial sites for residential use; increasing the development density of residential sites as far as allowable in planning terms, and streamlining the land lease conditions and approval process; making timely and optimal use of land which is no longer required for the original intended use; considering relaxing or lifting the administrative moratorium currently in force in Pok Fu Lam and the Mid-Levels; taking forward the residential development in Kam Tin South; inviting the Urban Renewal Authority to forge ahead with its "demand-led" redevelopment scheme and set out to redevelop industrial buildings; expediting the approval procedures and taking other measures to make available as soon as possible the residential projects which have obtained planning approvals; and actively considering making use of private developers' capacity to expedite the development at the former Diamond Hill Squatter Areas and quarry sites. Seven of these measures will make available over 300 hectares of land for housing development.

     Creating new land supply is an essential source of developable land in the long term. We will expeditiously take forward a number of projects, including the North East New Territories New Development Areas (NDAs), Hung Shui Kiu NDA, developing the New Territories North, review of deserted agricultural land in North District and Yuen Long, development of Lantau Island, reclamation on an appropriate scale outside Victoria Harbour, and rock cavern and underground space development, so as to develop new land extensively and build up a "land reserve" that can more than meet the short-term needs of Hong Kong.

     There is also a need to increase the supply of commercial land and facilities. The Government will pursue a series of initiatives, including taking forward the conversion of government office buildings and GIC sites in Central and Wan Chai for commercial use; accelerating the development of the North Commercial District on Airport Island; energising Kowloon East as another core business district; reviewing the planning of Kai Tak Development Area and developing the "Kai Tak Fantasy"; and encouraging the revitalisation of industrial buildings.

     The Steering Committee on Housing Land Supply chaired by the Financial Secretary will be re-organised as the Steering Committee on Land Supply. Comprising heads of the relevant Bureaux and Departments, the new Committee will co-ordinate the overall plans for development and supply of land in Hong Kong for various uses, and adjust supply in response to changes in demand.

     Land shortage has stifled our social and economic development and smothered many opportunities for Hong Kong people. The Government is thus committed to increasing land supply in the short, medium and long terms through optimal use of existing land and developing new land, and building up an abundant "land reserve" to respond more flexibly to society's needs for land. We will continue to work in a pragmatic and proactive manner to deal with problems, engage the public and rise up to challenges, with a view to improving the living space of Hong Kong people. Thank you.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the opening remarks.)

Ends/Thursday, January 17, 2013
Issued at HKT 17:09


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