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Opening remarks by SHYA at LegCo Finance Committee special meeting
     Following are the opening remarks (English translation) by the Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs, Miss Alice Mak, at the special meeting of the Legislative Council Finance Committee today (April 12):
Mr Chairman,
     I would like to brief Members about the key areas of work of the Home and Youth Affairs Bureau (HYAB) and its departments in 2023-24.
     The HYAB released the Youth Development Blueprint (the Blueprint) in December 2022, outlining the overall vision and guiding principles for the Government's long-term youth development work in the future. More than 160 concrete actions and measures were put forward to cater for the development needs of young people of different backgrounds and age groups in a holistic manner. The HYAB will drive and co-ordinate the efforts of relevant bureaux to implement the measures concerned, and will report regularly to the Legislative Council on the implementation progress.
     With the resumption of normal travel between Hong Kong and the Mainland and other parts of the world, the HYAB is resuming various Mainland and international visit programmes in an orderly manner. This includes providing more than 320 Mainland and overseas internship places in collaboration with 24 large corporates, and launching various funding schemes to support young people to take part in Mainland and overseas exchange and internship programmes this summer. Our aim is to further promote young people's understanding of our country and the world.

     Regarding Po Leung Kuk's youth hostel funded by the Government and the Hong Kong United Youth Association's project approved under the Subsidy Scheme for Using Hotels and Guesthouses as Youth Hostels, their respective tenant recruitment exercises are both underway. Together with the project by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups earlier on, these three projects already provide about 2 000 hostel places. We will continue to take forward the Youth Hostel Scheme in collaboration with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and relevant stakeholders who share our vision.
     We will continue implementing the Youth Participation Initiative to enable more young people to join the Government's advisory and statutory bodies through, inter alia, further expanding the Member Self-recommendation Scheme for Youth to increase the number of participating committees from 15 in Phase V to 20 in Phase VI. Moreover, in order to encourage more young people to participate in district affairs, the Home Affairs Department (HAD) established the District Youth Community Building Committee and the District Youth Development and Civic Education Committee in the 18 districts in April 2023. Each committee consists of 20 to 30 members with one-third of the seats opened up for young people to nominate themselves as members.
     The Blueprint states that the Multi-faceted Excellence Scholarship scheme will continue to be implemented to support students sitting the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination who excel in sports, arts and/or community service to pursue undergraduate studies in local universities or tertiary institutions. We plan to allocate $100 million for extending the scheme to bolster young people's development of non-academic talent.
     The 2023-24 Budget sets aside $100 million to strengthen support for women's development. Starting from 2023-24, the provisions will be injected into the Women Empowerment Fund (WEF) rolled out by the Chief Executive in his Policy Address, thereby increasing its annual allocation to $20 million. The WEF will subsidise women's organisations and related NGOs to launch suitable projects that support women, for example, providing training on child and elderly care, assistance for women in using new technologies, and so on.
     As always, the Government will continue to work closely with the Committee on the Promotion of Civic Education in 2023-24 to promote civic and national education, including national security education, outside schools and in the community through various channels and diversified means with a view to enhancing the public's sense of civic responsibility, awareness of the rule of law and patriotism.
     The Government will set up District Services and Community Care Teams (Care Teams) in the 18 districts. We have already announced in late March the list of organisations selected for forming the Care Teams in Tsuen Wan and Southern Districts. Care Teams in those two districts will start operating soon. The others in the remaining 16 districts are at the selection stage and will be formed progressively upon completion of their selection process.
     The Government will provide Care Teams with part of the resources required, specifically a funding of about $800,000 to $1.2 million per Care Team for a 2-year service agreement period depending on the circumstances of individual sub-districts. The estimated provision for 2023-24 is $226 million.
     The HAD currently provides support services to about 200 000 ethnic minorities annually through NGOs and district networks to facilitate their integration into the community. This year, we will continue to provide resources to eight support service centres for ethnic minorities for enhancing their programmes targeted at ethnic minority youth and new arrivals, and to implement the District-based Programmes for Racial Harmony to promote interaction and exchange between ethnic minorities and the local community.
     My colleagues and I are happy to answer questions from Members. Thank you, Chairman.
Ends/Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Issued at HKT 15:58
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