Speech by CS at THE ONE Award Gala Dinner (English only)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, at THE ONE Award Gala Dinner today (May 16):
Mr John Germ (Rotary International President), Dr David Harilela (Founder and Global Founder of THE ONE Humanitarian Award), Mr H W Fung (Chairman of THE ONE Hong Kong Humanitarian Award), Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
     Good evening. It is my great pleasure to join the award presentation ceremony tonight. This is the first time Rotary International District 3 450 combines THE ONE International and THE ONE Hong Kong Award Presentations.
     Rotary International District 3 450 organises THE ONE International Award and THE ONE Hong Kong Award to find and recognise the invisible heroes who devote themselves to the improvement of mankind, work for the highest standard of good, act with compassion and kindness. The Awards empower these heroes' humanitarian work with the award money and continuous funding support so that they could further their charitable causes. The impact of the award goes further. It introduces them to the world, inspires others to support them, be like them, magnify and sustain their humanitarian work.
     I am most grateful tonight to have the opportunity to salute the six distinguished finalists for the two awards, namely THE ONE International Award and THE ONE Hong Kong Award. They are the unsung heroes dedicated to helping those in need and doing good for the society. As the Guest of Honour of tonight's ceremony, I am given the valuable chance to have a glimpse of the profiles of the finalists. Despite their different origins, the finalists share the same determination and belief in helping the less fortunate selflessly and wholeheartedly. I am deeply touched and impressed by their unwavering dedication and sterling contribution. 
     The aim of the Awards echoes the HKSAR Government's commitment in building a more caring, more compassionate and more cohesive community in Hong Kong. The Government has devoted substantial resources to improve the livelihood of the grass roots over the past four years. As compared with the beginning of the current-term Government, recurrent expenditure on social welfare has increased by a hefty 71 per cent in five years, from $42.8 billion in 2012-13 to $73.3 billion in 2017-18. Over the period, poverty figures have edged downwards. Our aim is to assist people in need through our social security system while striving to encourage and support people capable of working to achieve self-reliance through employment. Our goal is to alleviate intergenerational poverty and enhance upward social mobility, thereby promoting a caring and inclusive society.
     Certainly, Government's effort alone is not enough. This is why we also reinforce cross-sectoral collaboration among the Government and many stakeholders in society to address the needs of our community. The Community Investment and Inclusion Fund (CIIF) was set up in 2002 to implement diversified social capital development projects, promote cooperation between the public and different sectors to build a cross-sectoral collaborative platform for mutual network. The business community is encouraged to become a planning partner and work with other sectors to develop sustainable collaborative relationships and mutual aid networks to fulfill corporate social responsibility.
     The Partnership Fund for the Disadvantaged (PFD) is another good example. The Fund was set up in 2005 for the promotion of tripartite partnership among the welfare sector, the business community and the Government to help the disadvantaged. The Government provides matching grants having regard to the donations made by business organisations to support welfare NGOs in running social welfare projects. Since its inception, the Government has injected $800 million into the Fund, of which $200 million is dedicated to implementing more after-school learning and support programmes for primary and secondary students from grassroots families to facilitate their whole-person development.
     We also promote voluntary work through co-operation with various sectors. According to the Social Welfare Department, there are about 1.27 million people and over 2 900 business organisations have registered with the Department as volunteers. They contributed over 24.24 million hours of voluntary work in 2015.
     With the concerted efforts of the Government and all walks of the community, we are getting closer to a caring, inclusive and fair society.

     To conclude, I would like to pay my warmest tribute to Rotary International District 3450 for organising THE ONE International and THE ONE Hong Kong Awards to give recognition of our unsung heroes. My heartfelt thanks also go to the donors for their generous financial support.
     Once again, I congratulate all our heroes and wish you all an enjoyable evening. Thank you.

Ends/Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Issued at HKT 20:21