Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
LC: CS presents Government Minute in response to Report of Public Accounts Committee No. 61

     Following is the speech (translated from Chinese) by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mrs Carrie Lam, in presenting the Government Minute in response to the Report of the Public Accounts Committee No. 61 in the Legislative Council today (May 14):


     Laid on the table today is the Government Minute (GM) responding to Report No. 61 of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

     When presenting Report No. 61 on February 12 to the Legislative Council (LegCo), the Chairman of PAC gave comments on Three chapters in the Director of Audit's Reports:

(a) Direct land grants to private sports clubs at nil or nominal premium;
(b) Management of roadside skips; and
(c) Allocation and utilisation of public rental housing flats.

     We are grateful for the time and efforts that the PAC has devoted to investigating these subjects.  We accept the Committee's various recommendations and have
set out in detail the specific responses of the relevant bureaux/departments (B/Ds) in the GM.  Today, I would like to highlight the key measures that we have taken in these important policy areas and the progress.

Direct land grants to private sports clubs at nil or nominal premium

     On direct land grants to private sports clubs at nil or nominal premium, the Administration started the private recreational lease (PRL) policy review in September 2013.  We will take into account the recommendations of Audit Commission (Audit) and the PAC during the review.  The Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) will take the lead in conducting the PRL policy review from a sports policy perspective and will involve other concerned policy B/Ds as necessary.  In this regard, the Development Bureau and the Planning Department will provide input on land use and planning, and the Lands Department (LandsD) will provide input on land administration matters.

     In reviewing the PRL policy, we will take into account factors such as sports development needs, land use, site and facilities utilisation, the interests of the lessees and their members, and the wider public interest.  In the course of the review, we will also consider how to ensure an appropriate apportionment of sports and non-sports facilities on PRL sites.  We expect that preliminary findings of the review will be available by the end of 2014.

     HAB has asked all lessees to open up their
sports facilities more extensively.  Apart from providing non-members with a much higher degree of access to their facilities, lessees are also required to operate junior membership schemes to allow talented young athletes to join the clubs as members at greatly reduced levels of subscription fee.  The approved "opening up" scheme forms part of the Conditions of Grant when a PRL is renewed.

     HAB has increased publicity on the availability of sports facilities of lessees for use by outside bodies by various means including advertising in print media, requiring the lessees to provide full information on the opening up schemes on their websites, disseminating relevant information through Competent Authorities, District Officers and the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China and uploading the information onto HAB's website.

     HAB will issue revised guidelines in mid-2014 to help lessees provide more detailed and informative reports on the implementation of the opening up schemes.  

     HAB works closely with the LandsD and other government departments to ensure that PRL sites are used in accordance with their Conditions of Grant.  HAB will monitor the utilisation rates of sports facilities on PRL sites, in particular with regard to the requirement to give greater access to outside bodies in accordance with the approved new opening up schemes.  Using the quarterly returns as a monitoring tool, the HAB follows up with lessees in cases of low utilisation and conducts random checks on the accuracy of the reported information.  

     The Administration will work on further strengthening the monitoring mechanism and improving lease conditions.  As part of the comprehensive policy review on PRL, HAB and the LandsD will clarify their respective responsibilities with regard to inspections on PRL sites and will formulate plans for routine inspections accordingly.  In addition to conducting site inspections in the context of processing lease renewals, the LandsD will inspect sites where lease renewal is not yet due.

     The LandsD will, in consultation with HAB and other relevant B/Ds, continue to follow up on individual cases of irregularity and suspected non-compliance with the lease conditions as identified in the Audit Report and take lease enforcement action as appropriate.  

Management of roadside skips

     On the management of roadside skips, a Joint Working Group led by the Environment Bureau and Environmental Protection Department (EPD) has been set
up with participation of eight relevant B/Ds.  The Joint Working Group is collating data to determine the magnitude of the skip problem.  In the light of the data collected, the Working Group will consider and recommend the appropriate measures to better regulate and facilitate the operation of roadside skips for discussion with stakeholders.  The Administration will report to the relevant Panel of this Council as soon as the Joint Working Group completes its study later this year.  We will also keep the PAC informed of the progress.

     Meanwhile, the Transport Department and the EPD are stepping up promotions among the skip operators to enhance their understanding and adoption of the guidelines and good practices on skip operations.  

Allocation and utilisation of public rental housing flats

     On allocation and utilisation of public rental housing flats, the Government is firmly committed to providing public rental housing (PRH) to low-income families who cannot afford private rental accommodation, and will endeavour to maintain the average waiting time (AWT) target of around three years for general applicants on the Waiting List (WL).  Under the established methodology, waiting time refers to the time taken between registration on the WL and the receipt of the first flat offer, excluding any frozen period during the application period (e.g. when the applicant has not yet fulfilled the residence requirement; the applicant has requested to put his/her application on hold pending arrival of family members for family reunion; the applicant is imprisoned, etc.).  The AWT for general applicants refers to the average of the waiting time of general applicants housed to PRH in the past 12 months.  Currently, applicants will be given three housing offers to allow them a reasonable range of choices as far as practicable.  

     We have repeatedly highlighted the definition of the AWT and the basis of its calculation at various public occasions, including meetings of the LegCo and to the press.  We agree with the recommendations of the Audit and the PAC and will enhance publicity in this aspect.  We have uploaded the definition and computation method of AWT onto the Housing Authority (HA)/Housing Department (HD)'s website on January 29, 2014.  We have also taken action to incorporate the definition and computation method for the AWT for applicants into the brochure on "Waiting List for Public Rental Housing - Information for Applicants" and the application form, together with clearer advice to applicants on the channels for obtaining the declaration forms for PRH applications and the proper use of the forms as recommended by the Audit.

     Also, we conducted a detailed analysis of the housing situation of WL applicants in 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively to study, amongst other things, those general application cases on the WL with longer waiting time.  The reports of the analysis have been uploaded onto the HA/HD website for public reference.  We will continue with this analysis on an annual basis.

     We consider that priority should continue to be given to general applicants (i.e. family and the elderly applicants) over non-elderly one-person applicants.  Nevertheless, we fully understand that there have been calls from the community for the Quota and Points System (QPS), which is implemented to rationalise and re-prioritise the allocation of PRH to non-elderly one-person applicants, to be refined so as to reduce the waiting time for older one-person applicants.  In the Long Term Housing Strategy Consultation Document published by the Steering Committee on Long Term Housing Strategy (the LTHS Steering Committee), the LTHS Steering Committee has also put forward recommendations on the QPS, including allocating more points to those who are above the age of 45, and developing a mechanism to regularly review the income and asset of QPS applicants, etc.  We have referred Audit's recommendations and observations, the views received during PAC's public hearings, as well as the LTHS Steering Committee's recommendations and the views of the public collected during the public consultation exercise to the HA for consideration.  Thank you, President.

Ends/Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Issued at HKT 11:31


Print this page