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LegCo to consider amendments to Appropriation Bill 2014
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The following is issued on behalf of the Legislative Council Secretariat:

     The Legislative Council (LegCo) will hold a meeting on Wednesday (April 30) at 11am in the Chamber of the LegCo Complex. During the meeting, Members will consider the amendments to the Appropriation Bill 2014.  Mr Albert Chan, Mr Leung Kwok-hung, Mr Chan Chi-chuen, Ms Claudia Mo, Mr Wong Yuk-man, Mr Sin Chung-kai, Mr James To, Dr Helena Wong, Mr Gary Fan, Mr Wu Chi-wai, Mr Lee Cheuk-yan, Dr Fernando Cheung, Mr Cheung Kwok-che and Ms Cyd Ho will move a total of 1 192 amendments to the Bill at the Committee stage.

     Meanwhile, the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2014, the Insurance Companies (Amendment) Bill 2014, the Electronic Health Record Sharing System Bill and the Construction Workers Registration (Amendment) Bill 2014 will be introduced into the Council for First and Second Readings. Second Reading debates on the bills will be adjourned.

     On Members' motions, Mr Tang Ka-piu will move a motion on formulating a comprehensive elderly care policy to deal with population ageing.  The motion states: "That, with the rapid ageing of Hong Kong's population, the demand for elderly care services in society continues to increase, but the policy strategies to deal with demographic challenges proposed earlier by the Steering Committee on Population Policy make no mention of elderly care services in the future; in this connection, this Council urges the Government to immediately formulate a comprehensive elderly care policy, make detailed planning for elderly care services in the future and promote collaboration between the medical and welfare sectors; the contents should include:

Service planning

(1) based on projections on the proportion and growth of elderly population in the future, to formulate medium- and long-term planning for elderly care services in the next 10 and 20 years, and on this basis, to reserve lands for developing elderly care services and train manpower, so as to ensure that social demand for community care services and residential care services for the elderly can be met every year;

(2) to make stronger efforts to implement projects on redeveloping residential care homes for the elderly and constructing new ones, and reserve lands in more public and private development projects for building residential care homes for the elderly, so as to shorten elderly persons' waiting time for residential care homes and reduce the number of elderly persons who have yet to be allocated a place in residential care homes when they passed away;

(3) based on the proportions of the elderly population in various districts, to enhance community care services, including allocating additional resources to expand the existing integrated home care services and day respite service for elders, and providing a certain number of places for emergency support services in various districts to deal with cases of serious nature and requiring immediate assistance;

Policy reform

(4) to set up an inter-departmental office of long-term care services to co-ordinate the work of various departments which are responsible for elderly welfare, elderly care and elderly services;

(5) to immediately rename the Chinese rendition of dementia from 'ѤHèbg' to '{êg', adopt the recommendations of the World Health Organization to formulate a comprehensive priority strategy to deal with dementia, and allocate resources to set up a dedicated service unit;

(6) to review the standardised care need assessment mechanism for elderly services, and triage elderly persons based on their actual care needs to enable them to receive suitable services as early as possible, and in turn effectively alleviate the problem of unduly long waiting time for services;

(7) to review the requirement on the area of floor space for each resident in newly constructed residential care homes and day service centres for the elderly, so as to progressively enhance the care standard of elderly services;

(8) focusing on the segregation of the medical and welfare sectors in elderly care services at present, to strengthen health-care and home care services in the community to support the care needs of elderly persons who are unable to get a place in residential care homes for the elderly, and in the three major directions of training, support and accreditation, formulate a dedicated policy on carers of the elderly, thereby perfecting the existing long-term care policy based on 'ageing in place';

Manpower resources

(9) based on the medium- and long-term planning for elderly care services, to project the manpower demand for the services, comprehensively assess afresh the existing policy of manpower resources development for elderly and care services, including reviewing the training, remuneration packages and career prospects for front-line carers in elderly services, and, apart from considering how to enhance the standard of the relevant services on the whole, also raise the social status of the industry, so as to attract more new entrants; and

(10) to review the bidding system for elderly service contracts to reduce cyclical wastage of manpower."

     Mr Albert Ho, Mr Frankie Yick, Dr Fernando Cheung, Mr Cheung Kwok-che and Dr Kwok Ka-ki will move separate amendments to Mr Tang Ka-piu's motion.

     Mr Ip Kin-yuen will move a motion on improving the implementation of the education policy and allocating additional funding for education.  The motion states: "That, as education is an important policy area, many countries and regions attach great importance to education and strive to allocate resources in education improvement, so as to upgrade their people's overall quality and enhance their societies' competitiveness in the future; yet, the SAR Government's funding allocation in education has been shrinking continuously in recent years, and the Education Bureau has also neither listened seriously to the views of the sector nor taken forward many measures on which the society has reached consensus, showing its ineptitude and belated awareness when faced with new problems and challenges, and failing to respond to people's needs and allay their concerns, such as its erroneous planning for kindergarten and primary school places, delay in implementing 15-year free education, disregard for the views of the sector and reluctance to adopt effective measures to stabilize stabiliseing and learning environment of secondary schools, turning a blind eye to young teachers' difficulty in joining the profession, and turning a deaf ear to the demands for improving the teaching establishment in public-sector schools and increasing the number of publicly-funded university places; the education sector considers that since the Secretary for Education, Mr Eddie Ng Hak-kim, took office, parents have worried about a shortage of places for their children's education, teachers' job satisfaction has declined, and students have been tormented by the education policy, rendering people to rock their confidence in the local education system and be greatly disappointed at the education policy led by Mr Ng, considering that he lacks work competence and enterprise, and that while he cannot effectively lead the officials of the Education Bureau to properly implement the education policy, he still frequently pays overseas duty visits, causing widespread grievances about the education policy in society in general; in this connection, this Council expresses dissatisfaction with the work performance of Mr Ng, requests him to reflect deeply on himself, and hopes that the SAR Government can improve the implementation of the education policy, allocate additional funding for education, and extensively solicit public opinions, so as to rebuild the public confidence in the education system."

     Dr Kenneth Chan, Dr Helena Wong and Dr Fernando Cheung will move separate amendments to Mr Ip Kin-yuen's motion.

     In addition, a Member motion originally scheduled for the Council meeting on April 16, 2014 will be dealt with at this Council meeting. Mr Andrew Leung will move a motion under Rule 49E(2) of the Rules of Procedure of LegCo.  The motion states: "That this Council takes note of Report No.16/13-14 of the House Committee laid on the Table of the Council on April 16, 2014 in relation to the Rating (Exemption) Order 2014".

     Members will also ask the Government 18 questions on various policy areas, all of which require written replies.

     The agenda of the above meeting can be obtained via the LegCo Website (www.legco.gov.hk). Please note that the agenda is subject to change, and the latest information about the agenda could be found in the LegCo Website.

     Members of the public are welcome to observe the proceedings of the meeting from the public galleries of the Chamber of the LegCo Complex. They may reserve seats by calling 3919 3399 during office hours. Seats will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis. Members of the public can also watch or listen the meeting via the web broadcast system on the LegCo Website.

Ends/Monday, April 28, 2014
Issued at HKT 19:20

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