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SHA's speaking notes tabled at LegCo Finance Committee special meeting

     Following are the speaking notes of the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, tabled at the Finance Committee special meeting in the Legislative Council today (March 31):


     The Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) is responsible for quite a diversified policy portfolio covering a total of eight Heads of Expenditure. Our priority areas with additional resources provided are as follows:

Youth Development

Youth Development Fund

     The Chief Executive announced in the Policy Address that the Government will set up a $300 million Youth Development Fund to support innovative youth development activities which are not covered by existing schemes, including subsidy in the form of matching funds for non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to assist young people in starting their business. We are consulting the Commission on Youth on the operational arrangements of the fund. We plan to consult the Panel on Home Affairs of the Legislative Council (LegCo) later this year.

Funding schemes for youth exchange and internship in the Mainland

     To broaden young people's horizons and raise their awareness about the development of the Mainland, we will increase the funding support to both the Funding Scheme for Youth Exchange in the Mainland and the Funding Scheme for Youth Internship in the Mainland. In this year's Budget Speech, the Financial Secretary has stated that the Government will allocate an additional $205 million in the next three years to support more young people to participate in Mainland exchange and internship programmes. We estimate that, as compared with 2014-15, the total number of youth beneficiaries for the two Schemes will increase by about 32 000 to about 70 000 in the coming three financial years.

Youth volunteerism

     We will step up our work in the promotion of youth volunteerism. In 2015-16, we will launch two new schemes, namely the Hong Kong-United Nations Youth Volunteers Programme and the Guangdong-Hong Kong Youth Volunteers Programme. In addition, we will regularise the Service Corps programme. We hope to provide more opportunities for young people to participate in volunteer services in the Mainland and overseas, through which they can serve others while developing their tenacity.

Social Enterprises

     The Government is committed to promoting the development of social enterprises (SEs). Through the concerted efforts of the Government, the community, the business sector and academia, the SE sector in Hong Kong has attained solid growth, both in terms of quantity and quality, and public awareness and recognition of SEs has also been raised. Since its inception in 2006, the Enhancing Self-Reliance Through District Partnership Programme (ESR Programme) of the Home Affairs Department (HAD) has granted a total of $180 million for the establishment of 161 SEs to create about 2 600 job opportunities. Among them, 80 per cent are still in operation after the funding period.

     Apart from the creation of job opportunities, SEs also engage people from different sectors to serve the community. We will earmark $150 million to roll out a new phase of the ESR Programme from 2016-17 to 2019-20, under which enhancement measures will be implemented to benefit a wider scope of social enterprises providing a greater variety of services to the community.

Arts and Culture

Art Development Matching Grant Pilot Scheme

     We have all along been proactively supporting the development of arts and culture. In this year's Budget Speech, the Financial Secretary has announced that he would earmark $300 million to launch a new Art Development Matching Grant Pilot Scheme under which private donations and sponsorships secured by eligible local arts organisations will be matched with grants. Through the new scheme, we hope to encourage different sectors of the community to sponsor local arts and cultural activities and help local arts organisations build closer partnerships with different sectors of the community, thereby enhancing the cultural aura of the city and encouraging the community to donate for arts and cultural activities. We will consult the Advisory Committee on Arts Development on the implementation details of the pilot scheme. Details of the scheme are expected to be announced within this year.

Arts and cultural facilities

     To meet the high demand of the East Kowloon communities and the arts sector for a performing arts venue with multi-purpose facilities, we are planning to build the East Kowloon Cultural Centre with a 1 200-seat auditorium and a 550-seat theatre in Ngau Tau Kok. If funding is approved by LegCo before mid-2015, it is expected that works will commence in early 2016 for completion in the third quarter of 2020.

     Plans are in hand to undertake major expansion and renovation of the Hong Kong Museum of Art with a view to enhancing museum facilities. After completion of the project, the Museum will display more art works from its collections, curate major international art exhibitions on world cultures ranging from classical to contemporary ones, nurture a donation culture, and enhance art education. If funding is approved by LegCo within this legislative year, construction works are expected to commence in early 2016 for completion by early 2019.

Promotion of arts and cultural activities in districts

     Since 2013-14, we have provided an additional dedicated allocation of $20.8 million per annum under the community involvement (CI) programmes to support District Councils (DCs) to promote arts and cultural activities in districts.

     We will provide an additional annual funding of $20.8 million for CI programmes for five financial years (i.e. from 2015-16 to 2019-20) to further strengthen support for DCs to promote arts and cultural activities. The dedicated allocation will be increased to $41.6 million a year.

     In other words, the total allocation for the CI programmes will reach $361.6 million in 2015-16.

Intangible cultural heritage

     The Government will further strengthen safeguarding measures for intangible cultural heritage (ICH), and will select by batches from Hong Kong's first ICH inventory those items which have high cultural value and require urgent preservation for more in-depth study with a view to drawing up Hong Kong's representative list of ICH. The representative list will help the Government in setting priorities in planning the safeguarding measures for ICH. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) will establish the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office to take forward the initiatives.

Sports Development

Sports facilities

     To promote greater participation in sport, from 2007 to early 2015, we have built new facilities and upgraded existing facilities with a budgeted cost of over $12 billion in total. Tin Yip Road Park in Tin Shui Wai with an 11-a-side artificial turf football pitch was opened last year, and new projects currently under way include four indoor sports centres at Ngan Shing Street in Sha Tin, Ma Tin Road in Yuen Long, Chung Mei Road in Tsing Yi and one between Tsuen Wan Park and Tsuen Wan Road. Funding support has been secured from LegCo in February and March 2015 for the construction of indoor sports centres in Siu Lun in Tuen Mun and at Sha Tin Tau Road in Sha Tin. In the coming months, we plan to seek LegCo's support to allocate more than $100 million for the construction of a football pitch at Hing Wah Street West in Sham Shui Po.

Multi-purpose Sports Complex at Kai Tak

     The Multi-purpose Sports Complex (MPSC) at Kai Tak will provide state-of-the-art multi-purpose sports venues that will not only cater for major international sports events but will also help increase the supply of public sports facilities and provide office and commercial space, open space and park facilities. Subject to funding approval, we aim to start the pre-construction works for the MPSC by the end of this year. Meanwhile, we will continue to proceed with other consultancy studies and gauge the views of stakeholders. According to our current schedule, we will seek funding approval for the main construction works from LegCo in 2017.

Review of Honorarium Arrangement for District Council Members

     The Government has completed the review of the honorarium arrangement for DC members of the next term. We propose to increase the honorarium of DC members by 15 per cent in real terms starting from the new term in 2016, and provide each DC member with a new provision of $10,000 per term to cover expenses for duty visits.

     The Panel on Home Affairs has given full support for the proposals. We will submit the funding proposals to the Finance Committee later this year.

Expenditure Control

     The recurrent expenditures of the two major departments under the purview of the HAB, viz the HAD and the LCSD, are within the approved budgets in the current financial year without much underspending. We will strive to achieve the objective of controlling our operating expenditure by stepping up our economy efforts, while keeping the impact on the provision of core services to the public to the minimum.

     This concludes my brief presentation. My colleagues and I will be glad to answer questions from Members. Thank you.

Ends/Tuesday, March 31, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:50


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