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Hong Kong Chief Executive’s Policy Address 2018: Plans for Housing, Health Care and More

Updated:2018-10-10 14:50:30    Source:www.tannet-group.comViews:31

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor presented her second policy address in the Legislative Council on October 10, 2018. Her speech was short, lasting about 40 minutes, unlike her predecessor Leung Chun-ying’s preference for a long address. In the speech, she unveiled 244 new initiatives on pressing issues such as land shortage, health care, elderly care and welfare. Here is what you need to know.

Land and Housing
1. Housing
(1) Continue to implement the new initiatives in housing policy, including delinking the selling prices of subsidised sale flats from the market prices;
(2) Increase the public-private housing ratio and allocate more land for public housing development;
(3) Review the public-private housing ratio under the Long Term Housing Strategy;
(4) The Hong Kong Housing Authority will consider allowing owners of its subsidised sale flats with premium unpaid to sublet their flats to families in need; introduce an initiative whereby under-occupied public rental housing households may enjoy rent exemption upon transfer;
(5) Accept the recommendation of the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS) to introduce the “Flat for Flat Pilot Scheme for Elderly Owners”;
(6) Allocate land to support the HKHS in redeveloping its aged housing estates with a view to increasing the supply of housing units;
(7) Invite the Urban Renewal Authority to explore redevelopment of the sites under the Civil Servants’ Co-operative Building Society Scheme.

2. Land Supply
(1) Develop land resources in a persistent manner and allocate 70% of housing units on newly developed land to public housing development;
(2) Launch the “Lantau Tomorrow Vision”, commence a study on the reclamation for artificial islands to increase land supply in Hong Kong, drive economic development and improve people’s living quality;
(3) Complete two studies on brownfield operations within this year with a view to formulating policy and implementation measures;
(4) Introduce the “Land Sharing Pilot Scheme” for meeting the short to medium-term housing demand;
(5) Reactivate the revitalisation scheme for industrial buildings to provide incentives to owners to convert old industrial buildings, and allow the provision of transitional housing within revitalised industrial buildings.

Liveable City
1. Transport
(1) Waive or pay for the tolls charged on franchised buses for using government or franchised tunnels/roads to ease fare increase pressure
(2) Rationalise the tolls payable by private cars, taxis and motorcycles for using the three harbour crossings/tunnels to re-distribute cross-harbour traffic
(3) Launch a consultation next year on specific proposals for the Electronic Road Pricing Pilot Scheme in Central and its adjacent areas
(4) Provide at least 1 500 public car parking spaces in government facilities and public open space projects over the next five years
(5) Revive the “Central-Hung Hom” ferry route; launch a pilot “water taxi” service plying between Kai Tak, Hung Hom, Tsim Sha Tsui East, West Kowloon and Central

2. Environmental Protection
(1) Tighten the emission standards for newly registered motorcycles in 2020, phase out Euro IV diesel commercial vehicles by the end of 2023, conduct consultation on ceasing the first registration of diesel private cars.
(2) Legislate for the implementation of municipal solid waste charging and provide additional resources for the implementation of waste reduction and recycling; take the lead to avoid using disposable plastic tableware and study the feasibility of regulatory control on the use of such tableware.
(3) Develop renewable energy with the Government taking the lead and provide support to individuals and non-governmental organisations to install renewable energy installations.

3. Building Safety
Launch a $2.5 billion Lift Modernisation Subsidy Scheme to subsidise the needy owners in modernising aged lifts

4. Animal Welfare
(1) Amend the relevant legislation to protect animal welfare.
(2) Implement the Animal Watchers Scheme by the Police.

Labour and Welfare
1. Secure the passage of the enabling legislation to abolish the “offsetting” arrangement under the Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme within the current term of the Government, and implement the abolition two years after the legislative amendments. The Government will enhance the support for employers and assist the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in making preparation for the change.
2. Extend the statutory maternity leave to 14 weeks, where the employers can apply for reimbursement of the additional expenditure on four weeks’ statutory maternity leave from the Government; and extend the maternity leave for all female employees of the Government to 14 weeks with immediate effect.
3. Increase the statutory paternity leave from three days to five days as early as possible.
4. Study new measures for protecting employees injured at work and occupational disease sufferers, including enhanced treatment and rehabilitation services, speeding up processing of work injury cases and stepping up investigation and prosecution efforts against non-compliance.
5. Strengthen the protection of the employment terms and conditions as well as the labour rights of non-skilled workers employed by government service contractors.
6. Allocate additional resources for the Commission on Children for implementing measures in safeguarding the interests and well-being of children, including enhancing child care services, early identification of and provision of assistance to pre-school children and their families with welfare needs and strengthening support for divorced or separated families.
7. Increase the number of service places of On-site Pre-school Rehabilitation Services to 7 000 in October 2019.
8. Formulate a new Hong Kong Rehabilitation Programme Plan and strengthen community support services for families of persons with disabilities, including setting up District Support Centres and enhancing home-based care services.
9. Provide 2 000 additional places under the Enhanced Home and Community Care Services and 1 000 additional vouchers under the Second Phase of the Pilot Scheme on Community Care Service Voucher for the Elderly.
10. Extend the Old Age Living Allowance to Guangdong and Fujian Provinces so as to further facilitate Hong Kong elderly persons who choose to reside in these two provinces.
11. Allocate more than $500 million to strengthen support for ethnic minorities and promote inclusiveness.

Diversified Economy
1. Enhance the status of Hong Kong as an international commerce and trading centre by signing more bilateral and multilateral agreements.
2. Fully participate in and contribute to the Belt and Road Initiative to generate new impetus for economic development.
3. Establish a Steering Committee for the Development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area for the overall co-ordination of participation in the development of the Greater Bay Area and identify opportunities for Hong Kong.
4. Closely monitor the impacts of the trade friction between China and the United States on Hong Kong and introduce supportive initiatives for various sectors in a timely manner.

Innovation and Technology
1. Inject $20 billion into the Research Endowment Fund of the Research Grants Council; launch a $3 billion Research Matching Grant Scheme; and introduce fellowship schemes for outstanding academics to strengthen the pool of talent in research and innovation and technology in Hong Kong.
2. Expedite re-industrialisation by establishing a $2 billion re-industrialisation funding scheme to subsidise manufacturers to set up smart production lines in Hong Kong and allocating $2 billion for building manufacturing facilities required by the advanced manufacturing sector in industrial estates.
3. Promote technology transfer by increasing the funding support to the Technology Transfer Offices of universities, the Technology Start-up Support Scheme for Universities, as well as the State Key Laboratories and Hong Kong branches of the Chinese National Engineering Research Centre.
4. Announce annual plans to open up data by government departments.
5. Launch pro-innovation government procurement policies.

Transportation Services and Logistics
Formulate tax measures to foster ship leasing business; provide tax concessions for the marine insurance sector; support Hong Kong to provide dispute resolution services to the global maritime industry; and inject $200 million into the Maritime and Aviation Training Fund

Financial Services
Issue the first batch of virtual banking licences by the end of 2018 or early 2019

Telecommunications
Proactively open up appropriate government premises for the installation of 5G base stations by mobile service operators

Creative Industry
Inject $1 billion into the Film Development Fund to nurture talent, enhance local film production, expand markets and build up audiences

Nurturing Talent
1. Implement the all-graduate teaching force policy in public sector primary and secondary schools, involving an additional recurrent funding of about $1.5 billion per year
2. Provide a Life-wide Learning Grant for public sector schools and schools under the Direct Subsidy Scheme through an annual provision of $900 million
3. Provide public sector schools and schools under the Direct Subsidy Scheme with additional recurrent resources of $570 million to strengthen the administrative support for schools and their management committees
4. Provide an additional provision of $800 million per year to strengthen support for students with special educational needs on various fronts, including enhancing the educational psychologist to school ratio and creating school-based speech therapist posts in public sector ordinary schools
5. Provide an additional recurrent funding of $120 million per year to subsidise students to undertake designated self-financing sub-degree programmes
6. Offer 1 200 places a year through the Vocational Training Council to allow students to join industries requiring specialised skills under the “Earn & Learn” model

Healthcare
1. Strengthen primary healthcare services by setting up the first District Health Centre in Kwai Tsing, and extending this model to other districts.
2. Recognise the positioning of Chinese medicine services in the healthcare system in Hong Kong; provide subsidised in-patient and out-patient services through the Chinese medicine hospital under planning and the 18 Chinese Medicine Centres for Training and Research; and set up a $500 million dedicated fund to promote applied research and specialisation of Chinese medicine.
3. Continue to implement the first 10-year Hospital Development Plan and prepare for the second 10-year Hospital Development Plan with a view to providing more than 9 000 hospital beds in the future.
4. Propose to legislate for a ban on the import, manufacture, sale, distribution and advertisement of electronic cigarettes and other new smoking products.
5. Introduce free cervical cancer vaccination for school girls of specific age group.
6. Launch a pilot scheme to provide free outreach seasonal influenza vaccination services for primary students at schools; increase the subsidy under the Vaccination Subsidy Scheme and expand its eligible groups to cover people aged between 50 and 64.
7. Expand the target beneficiaries of the Community Care Fund Elderly Dental Assistance Programme to cover elderly persons receiving Old Age Living Allowance aged 65 or above.(Source: South China Morning Post)

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