Council Meeting (Agenda) 18 January 2006


A 05/06-15

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 18 January 2006 at 11:00 am

I. Tabling of Papers

Subsidiary Legislation / InstrumentsL.N. No.
1.Merchant Shipping (Prevention and Control of Pollution) (Charges for Discharge of Polluting Waste) (Charges Revision) Regulation 20068/2006
2.Civil Celebrant of Marriages Appointment Appeal Board Regulation9/2006
3.Marriage (Introduction of Civil Celebrants of Marriages and General Amendments) Ordinance (Commencement) Notice10/2006
4.Application for New Identity Cards (Persons Born in or before 1942, in 1990 to 1992 or 1997 to 2003) Order11/2006
5.Prisons (Amendment) Order 200612/2006
6.Official Languages (Alteration of Text under Section 4D) (Reference to "sufficient proof" in the Probate and Administration Ordinance) Order13/2006
7.Revenue (Personalized Vehicle Registration Marks) Ordinance 2005 (Commencement) Notice14/2006


Other Papers

1. No.56-Equal Opportunities Commission
Annual Report 2004/05
(to be presented by Secretary for Home Affairs)

2. No.57-Report on the Administration of the Fire Services Department Welfare Fund,
together with the Director of Audit's Report and Audited Statement of Accounts, for the year ended 31 March 2005
(to be presented by Secretary for Security)

3. No.58-Annual Report 2004-2005 of the Hospital Authority, which contains
Statement of Accounts and Auditors' Report
(to be presented by Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food)

4. No.59-Report and Statement of Accounts of the Samaritan Fund, together with the
Director of Audit's Report, for the year ended 31 March 2005
(to be presented by Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food)


II. Questions

1. Hon WONG Kwok-hing to ask:
(Translation)

In connection with advertising, promoting and managing tourist attractions and facilities in Hong Kong, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether there is a government department with dedicated responsibilities for advertising, promoting and managing the existing tourist attractions in Hong Kong, including erecting signs, publishing articles on tourist attractions, and arranging cleansing, maintenance, repair and guided tour services, etc; if so, of the department concerned; if not, which departments are sharing such responsibilities;

    (b)whether members of the public may express their views to the Commissioner for Tourism on the facilities and supporting services of existing tourist attractions; if so, whether the authorities have assessed if the Commissioner, at the current rank and with the existing powers, is able to coordinate various policy bureaux and government departments in dealing with such views; if the assessment results indicate that the Commissioner is unable to perform the coordinating role, how the authorities will assist the Commissioner in performing this role; and

    (c)of the mechanism in place for the public to put forward suggestions to the Commissioner regarding the identification of new tourist attractions and for the Commissioner to evaluate such suggestions?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

2. Hon LAU Wong-fat to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the safety of oil depots in Hong Kong, as well as the impact of incidents at these depots on human life, property and the environment, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the distribution of oil depots in the territory and their respective sizes;

    (b)whether it has assessed the safety problem of these oil depots, as well as the impact on human life, property and the environment in cases of explosion or leakage; if it has, of the outcome of the assessment; and

    (c)how the authorities prevent the contamination of water sources by the fallout brought down by precipitation in the wake of the above incidents, resulting in the ecology of rivers and streams being upset by the contaminants, and check if underground water and rivers have been contaminated?
Public Officers to reply:Secretary for Security
Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

3. Dr Hon Fernando CHEUNG to ask: (Translation)

Regarding the employment of persons with disabilities ("PWDs") by the Hong Kong Disneyland ("HKD"), will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of PWDs currently employed by HKD, with a breakdown by the modes of employment and job nature;

    (b)of the respective longest and shortest employment periods among the former and existing HKD employees who are PWDs; and

    (c)whether the Administration will request HKD management to set an indicator for employing PWDs; if it will not, whether it has assessed if this runs contrary to the Government policy of assisting PWDs in securing jobs?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

4. Hon CHAN Yuen-han to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that the Housing Authority ("HA") is considering a land exchange proposal under which HA surrenders certain valuable land to the Government in exchange for other land for building public housing. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it will adopt the above proposal; if it will, of the districts in which it plans to provide land to HA; if not, of the reasons for that;

    (b)whether it will allow HA to share part of the proceeds from the sale of the land surrendered by HA; and

    (c)whether, in considering specific proposals of land exchange, HA will ensure that it has sufficient land to enable completion of a steady number of public housing units each year in the urban areas, extended urban areas and the New Territories respectively; if not, of the justifications for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

5. Hon Andrew CHENG to ask:
(Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)the respective numbers of passengers, in each of the past three years, who fell onto the railway track from platforms of various railways operated by the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation ("KCRC"), together with a breakdown by the causes of such incidents and resultant casualties;

    (b)whether KCRC has plans to retrofit screen doors at all railway platforms; if so, of the progress of such plans; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)whether, before completion of screen doors retrofitting works at all railway platforms, KCRC will consider setting a lower speed for trains entering stations but a higher train speed at other sections so that, while not affecting the frequency of trains, it may help mitigate the injuries caused by incoming trains to passengers who fall onto the railway track; if it will, of the speed limit it intends to set for trains entering stations; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

6. Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong to ask:
(Translation)

In his Policy Address delivered in October last year, the Chief Executive reiterated that he would not reduce the total spending on education. However, the Education and Manpower Bureau ("EMB") did not fully utilize all the funds allocated in the past two years and returned the unspent funds, amounting to $7.1 billion dollars, to the Treasury. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)where EMB has not fully utilized the funds allocated to education for the current financial year, whether it will, as it did in the last two years, return the unspent funds to the Treasury; if it will, whether such practice is contradictory to the Chief Executive's above undertaking; and

    (b)where EMB has not fully utilized the funds allocated to education for the current financial year, whether the Financial Secretary will, in view of the Chief Executive's undertaking, urge EMB to apply to the Finance Committee of this Council for approval to reallocate the unspent funds for other non-recurrent educational uses?
Public Officers to reply:Secretary for Education and Manpower
Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

*7. Hon TAM Yiu-chung to ask: (Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council whether it plans to construct a new route to the east of Tuen Mun Road (i.e. Tuen Mun Eastern Bypass) in order to alleviate the traffic congestion at the Town Centre Section of Tuen Mun Road; if so, of the starting point of the route, the districts it passes by, forecast traffic volume per hour, as well as the expected commencement and completion dates of the construction works for the route; if not, of the reasons for that?

Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

*8. Hon Alan LEONG Kah-kit to ask:
(Translation)

At Lam Tin Mass Transit Railway ("MTR") Station, a set of shuttle escalators has been installed at each of the two locations at a section of the steep slope outside Exit A. However, the absence of facilities to cater for mobility-handicapped persons, in particular wheelchair users, has caused inconvenience and danger to them. Regarding the provision of facilities for mobility-handicapped persons at railway stations, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it knows the MTR, Kowloon-Canton Railway ("KCR") East Rail, KCR West Rail and Ma On Shan Rail stations which have not yet provided facilities, such as stair lifts, wheelchair aids, passenger lifts, sloping floors and ramps etc., at all exits to cater for mobility-handicapped persons;

    (b)whether it knows if the MTR Corporation Limited and the KCR Corporation have any plans to install facilities to cater for mobility-handicapped persons at all exits of the railway stations mentioned in item (a) and the new ones to be built in future; if they have, of the details, installation timetables and latest progress of the plans; if not, the reasons for that and how the station supervisors assist mobility-handicapped persons to enter and leave those stations; and

    (c)whether, by not providing facilities at all exits of railway stations under their management to cater for mobility-handicapped persons, the two corporations contravene the Disability Discrimination Ordinance, relevant building ordinances or other legal requirements?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

*9. Hon WONG Ting-kwong to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding SuperLink China Direct ("SuperLink"), a logistics service provided by the Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)if the cross-boundary cargo throughput between the Hong Kong International Airport ("HKIA") and the Mainland has increased over the past three years as a result of the launch of SuperLink, and the relevant statistics;

    (b)if the existing speedy cargo handling facilities of SuperLink can cope with the future growth in demand in Hong Kong for such logistics service; and

    (c)the existing security measures of SuperLink to ensure that the cargoes transported through the service are properly protected before leaving HKIA?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

*10. Ir Dr Hon HO Chung-tai to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding advertisement signboards projecting from external walls of buildings and overhanging streets ("overhanging advertisement signboards"), will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the regulatory measures regarding large-sized overhanging advertisement signboards;

    (b)how it deals with the overhanging advertisement signboards which belong to closed-down businesses but have not yet been removed; and

    (c)of the legal liabilities under the existing legislation concerning overhanging advertisement signboards which fall from height?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

*11. Hon SIN Chung-kai to ask:
(Translation)

Government departments commission companies to conduct pilot projects to establish the details and feasibility of major information technology ("IT") projects before implementing them. Some members of the trade have told me that these companies, because of their involvement in such pilot projects, will become very familiar with the requirements of government departments and be considered as possessing the relevant experience. Sometimes they may even advise the authorities concerned on the appropriate technologies to be adopted. As a result, they have an edge when bidding for the related IT projects. In this regard, will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the number of complaints received by the authorities in each of the past three years alleging that certain bidders had obtained a competitive edge because they had conducted the pilot projects; the procedure for handling these complaints and their results;

    (b)the number of IT service contracts, awarded in each of the past three years by government departments, in respect of which pilot projects had been conducted and, among these contracts, the number of those awarded to the companies which had conducted the related pilot projects; and

    (c)the mechanism and measures to ensure that all bidders have equal opportunities to win IT service contracts?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology

*12. Hon Fred LI to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that, when attending a radio programme early last month, the Secretary for Economic Development and Labour did not deny that the Government was discussing with the relevant parties the construction of a new theme park in Hong Kong. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the details of the discussions, including the commencement date of the discussions and the government departments involved;

    (b)of the preliminary proposal on the new theme park, including the locations as well as the modes of construction and operation that have been considered or are being considered, and whether the Government plans to inject funds into the project; and

    (c)given that the Ocean Park will carry out a $5.5 billion redevelopment project and Hong Kong Disneyland also plans to develop more amusement facilities, whether it has studied the viability of the new theme park; if so, of the findings of the study; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

*13. Hon Abraham SHEK to ask:


Regarding the waiting time for specialist out-patient service provided by the Hospital Authority, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the current number of specialties in the specialist out-patient service;

    (b)of the current waiting time for each of the above specialist service; and

    (c)if there were cases in which the clinical conditions of patients of chronic illness irreversibly worsened or even became terminal in the past year as a result of the excessively long waiting time?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works
(in the absence of Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food)


*14. Hon Howard YOUNG to ask: (Translation)

Recently, I have received complaints from travel agents that an outbound tour that a local group joined was organized by a counterfeit travel agent, and the receipts issued by that travel agent to the tour members were not franked. They would not be protected by the Travel Industry Compensation Fund and the Package Tour Accident Contingency Fund Scheme in the event of accidents, and the reputation of the travel agent being passed off would be damaged. Regarding unlicensed or counterfeit travel agents, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether the authorities have found unlicensed travel agents or outbound tours not organized by licensed travel agents in the past three years;

    (b)of the measures to step up the efforts to combat unlicensed or counterfeit travel agents, and whether it will consider providing a telephone hotline for reporting such travel agents; and

    (c)how it ensures that the tours joined by consumers are organized by licensed travel agents, and whether it will step up publicity on the points to note for outbound travellers?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

*15. Hon CHEUNG Hok-ming to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the policy of "A Society for All" implemented by the Government for the deaf-mute in Hong Kong, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the latest number of the deaf-mute in Hong Kong, together with their male to female ratio, age structure and their distribution by districts;

    (b)of the details of the facilities and services currently provided for the deaf-mute;

    (c)of the work done by the authorities in the past three years to promote and achieve the objective of "A Society for All";

    (d)whether it has assessed the effectiveness of the policy of "A Society for All"; if so, of the details and outcome of the assessment; and

    (e)whether it has studied the relationship between the early achievement of the objective of "A Society for All" and the two factors, i.e. enhancing civic education on fair and friendly treatment of the deaf-mute and improving the services and facilities of the existing centres for the deaf-mute; if so, of the details and findings of the study; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply:Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works
(in the absence of Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food)


*16. Dr Hon Joseph LEE Kok-long to ask: (Translation)

It has been reported that the Housing Authority has decided to retain the site to be vacated following demolition of the Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate for redevelopment of a public rental housing ("PRH") estate. In connection with this decision and the use of other sites vacated following demolition of PRH estates, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has consulted the relevant bodies and assessed the demand for PRH units in the district before making the above decision;

    (b)of the current uses of various sites of former PRH estates vacated in the past three years;

    (c)whether it has reviewed the uses of such sites in the light of population changes and the demand for PRH units in the respective districts; if it has, how such reviews have been conducted; if not, how mismatch of land resources can be avoided; and

    (d)who decides on the uses of such vacated sites; and of the mechanism to be followed, the criteria to be adopted and the factors to be considered in making such decisions?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

*17. Dr Hon KWOK Ka-ki to ask:
(Translation)

Early last month, some medical centres operating as a conglomerate were discovered to have administered unregistered influenza vaccine injections on several hundred residents. The incident has aroused public concern about the monitoring of such medical centres. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the means through which the Government monitors the establishment and operation of medical centres, and whether it has issued guidelines in this respect;

    (b)of the number of complaints about the services provided by such medical centres received respectively by the Department of Health, the Medical Council of Hong Kong and the Consumer Council in each of the past three years, with a breakdown by subject of complaints; and

    (c)whether it plans to step up monitoring, through legislation or other means, of the operation of medical centres, such as stipulating that pharmaceuticals shall be procured under the supervision of doctors or pharmacists?
Public Officers to reply:Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works
(in the absence of Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food)


*18. Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung to ask: (Translation)

Recently, there have been complaints from some parents of students that certain tutorial centres providing homework support through telephone or the Internet have failed to deliver what they have promised. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of complaints received by the relevant authorities against such tutorial centres in each of the past five years;

    (b)whether it will consider amending the legislation to subject these tutorial centres to regulation; if not, of the reasons for that; and

    (c)of the measures to advise parents and students on the selection of tutorial centres?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Education and Manpower

*19. Hon Frederick FUNG to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that in the light of the spate of air disasters last year, the relevant authorities in France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the United States and Switzerland have blacklisted a number of airlines which have poor flight safety records or fail to maintain and repair their aircraft properly, forbidding the aircraft of these airlines from flying over their airspaces and taking off and landing within their territories. The European Union is also drafting a blacklist of airlines applicable to all member states. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether the airlines blacklisted by the above countries currently operate scheduled flights to and from Hong Kong; if so, of the details and whether the Civil Aviation Department has evaluated the flight safety of the relevant aircraft in the past three years; if it has, of the evaluation results; if it has not, the reasons for that;

    (b)whether the authorities have, on flight safety grounds, rejected applications by airlines for operating scheduled flights in Hong Kong in the past three years;

    (c)how the Government monitors the flight safety of the aircraft operating in Hong Kong at present; and

    (d)whether the Government will make reference to the practices of the above countries and draw up a blacklist of airlines; if not, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

*20. Hon Albert CHAN to ask:
(Translation)

Regarding the plantation of Wedelia trilobata in Hong Kong and its impact on Hong Kong's native plants, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the quantity of Wedelia trilobata planted by the authorities in each of the past three years and the locations of the plantation;

    (b)whether it has assessed the impact on the native plants before planting Wedelia trilobata; if so, of the details and results of the assessment; if not, the reasons for that; and

    (c)whether it will remove Wedelia trilobata from the vegetation covers which have been seriously upset by this plant and restore them to their original form by replanting plants of native species; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

*For written reply.

III. Members' Motions
  1. Reducing the workload of and mental stress on teachers

    Hon MA Lik: (Translation)

    That this Council urges the Government to formulate effective measures to reduce the workload of and mental stress on teachers, so as to facilitate improvement in the quality of education and promotion of the education reform.

    Amendment to motion
    Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong:
    (Translation)

    To add ", as the pressure of work on and the non-teaching duties taken up by teachers have been increasing since the implementation of the education reform by the Education and Manpower Bureau in 2000, which not only impair the effectiveness of teaching but also jeopardize the physical and mental health of teachers," after "That"; to delete "Government to formulate" after "this Council urges the" and substitute with "Administration to face up to the problems of work pressure and suicide among teachers and to formulate"; and to delete "so as to facilitate improvement in the quality of education and promotion of the education reform" after "mental stress on teachers," and substitute with "including: (a) comprehensively reviewing the pace of education and curriculum reforms, re-examining the priorities of education policies, and abolishing the unreasonable education policies; (b) re-examining each and every education policy to eliminate unnecessary non-teaching duties and to count the administrative work that has to be retained as part of a teacher's workload, so as to enable schools to have sufficient manpower to make appropriate arrangements in adjusting and allocating the non-teaching duties at schools; (c) implementing small class teaching and increasing the number of teachers, so as to improve the teaching environment, maximize the effectiveness of learning and teaching, and upgrade the quality of teaching; (d) providing substitute teachers for those teachers who pursue in-service studies, and implementing a genuine 'paid study leave' scheme to alleviate the stress on teachers arising from their studies; (e) reducing the teaching sessions for teachers, employing additional supporting staff to handle non-teaching and administrative duties, etc, and expanding the establishment of teaching staff as well as including in the establishment those contract teachers who are currently outside the establishment; and (f) caring about the psychological and mental health of teachers by enhancing the pre-service and in-service psychological health training for teachers and setting up a counselling centre for handling their emotional problems".

    Amendment to Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong's amendment
    Hon TSANG Yok-sing:
    (Translation)

    To delete "since the implementation of the education reform by the Education and Manpower Bureau in 2000" after "have been increasing"; to delete "comprehensively" after "(a)"; to delete ", re-examining" after "education and curriculum reforms" and substitute with "as well as"; to add "; strengthening communication with front-line teachers, and fully evaluating the impact of various education reform initiatives on the work of teachers and making appropriate adjustments" after "unreasonable education policies"; to delete "re-examining each and every education policy to eliminate" after "(b)" and substitute with "eliminating"; to delete "and to count" after "unnecessary non-teaching duties" and substitute with "at schools and counting"; to delete "implementing small class teaching and increasing the number of teachers" after "(c)" and substitute with "enhancing the teacher-student ratios in schools by reducing the class sizes and increasing the establishment of teaching staff"; to add "expanding the coverage of specialized teaching," after "(e)"; to add "increasing school social workers and resource teachers for supportive educational programmes," after "teaching sessions for teachers,"; to delete "expanding the establishment of teaching staff as well as" after "administrative duties, etc, and"; and to delete "counselling centre for handling their emotional problems" after "setting up a" and substitute with "teacher health centre".

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Education and Manpower
  2. Assisting in the transformation of enterprises which ceased operation due to the Government's new policies

    Hon Vincent FANG Kang: (Translation)

    That, as the Government, when introducing new policies in recent years, has often failed to assess the impacts of the new policies on the economic environment and the affected enterprises, and the assistance given to the trades or enterprises concerned is mostly restricted to ex gratia payments, instead of actively helping them to transform, and as many affected trades have difficulties in transforming their business on their own due to their relatively low technology and capital intensity levels, the new policies have strangled the survival of many enterprises and rendered many people unemployed, this Council urges the Government to:

    (a)conduct risk assessment on the impacts of new policies before introducing them, and to strike a proper balance after clearly and fully assessing the impacts of the new policies on public interests and the trades;

    (b)fully consult the trades before making any important policy decisions; and

    (c)set up an inter-departmental working committee to provide various kinds of suitable assistance to the operators and employees of the affected enterprises, so as to help them transform.

    Amendment to motion
    Hon WONG Kwok-hing:
    (Translation)

    To add "and the related trade unions" after "fully consult the trades"; to add "and training" after "suitable assistance"; and to add "and gain employment again" after "help them transform".

    Public Officer to attend : Financial Secretary
Clerk to the Legislative Council