The LegCo Reporter
Issue No. 14 (9 March 2006)

At its meeting on 8 March 2006, the Legislative Council passed the following three resolutions:

(1)Resolution moved by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury under the Motor Vehicles (First Registration Tax) Ordinance.

(2)Resolution moved by Hon Fred LI Wah-ming relating to the extension of the period for amending the Waste Disposal Ordinance (Amendment of Fourth Schedule) Notice 2006 and the Public Health (Animals and Birds) (Licensing of Livestock Keeping) (Amendment) Regulation 2006.

(3)Resolution moved by Hon Miriam LAU Kin-yee relating to the extension of the period for amending the Fugitive Offenders (Finland) Order.

At the same meeting, the Council passed the following three motions with no legislative effect:

(1)Motion on "Promoting health care reform and health care financing", moved by Dr Hon KWOK Ka-ki as amended by Hon LI Kwok-ying and further amended by Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo

"That, as the Health, Welfare and Food Bureau will publish a consultation paper on health care financing this year, and the community is widely concerned about the direction of the reform of the Chinese and Western health care systems in Hong Kong and the changes in the financing models for public and private medical care services, this Council urges the Government to expeditiously examine the long-term difficulties faced by the Chinese and Western health care systems in Hong Kong, and to put forward feasible options and measures to improve the current situation; such measures should include:
(a)reviewing the existing framework for the provision of public and private medical care services; enhancing the transparency of the operation and decision-making process of the Hospital Authority; and regulating the operation of medical groups, with a view to facilitating the communication and cooperation between public and private medical organizations;
(b)mapping out the direction of health care reform which includes the Chinese medicine profession, with emphasis on the importance of disease prevention and comprehensive primary medical care services, clearly defining the objectives of public medical care services; disclosing to the public such information as the costing methodology of the services; seeking a consensus in society on the direction of health care reform; and drawing up a timetable for implementing such reform;
(c)expediting the progress in setting up an electronic system for sharing patient records, thereby establishing a mechanism and procedures for referring patients between public and private health care systems;
(d)comprehensively reviewing the supply and demand of as well as the planning for Chinese and Western health care manpower; and enhancing the training for health care personnel, improving their remuneration packages and work environment as well as boosting their morale, so as to solve the problems of wastage of health care personnel as well as employment of and continuous training for Chinese medicine graduates, and prevent the emergence of a succession gap;
(e)expeditiously formulating and implementing a health care financing plan that can sustain the development of health care services, so as to relieve the burden on the public and to ensure that the grassroots and the vulnerable receive appropriate health care services and that the middle-class is given fair opportunities to obtain medical treatment; in formulating the health care financing models, the Government should consider providing tax deductions for people who utilize private medical care services and take out medical insurance; in considering the provision of tax deductions, the Government should, at the same time, study the impact of developing a private health insurance system on the overall health care system, the regulation of private health insurance systems in overseas countries, as well as the feasibility of implementing a central health insurance system in Hong Kong; and
(f)enhancing the regulation of the operation of private medical care services, including medical groups and private medical practitioners, etc.; and establishing an independent statutory body for handling complaints about public and private medical care services, so as to ensure that patients are provided with good medical care services and enhance their confidence in using private medical care services."

(2)Motion on "Domestic violence", moved by Hon Margaret NG as amended by Hon CHOY So-yuk, Hon Alan LEONG Kah-kit, Dr Hon Fernando CHEUNG Chiu-hung and Hon Albert HO Chun-yan

"That, in view of the increasing number of domestic violence cases in recent years, which reflects the severity of the problem, this Council urges the Government to implement in the whole territory the recommendations in the Report of the Review Panel on Family Services in Tin Shui Wai and the recommendations made by the Coroner's Court in respect of the family tragedy that occurred in Tin Shui Wai in April 2004, to expeditiously formulate effective measures to curb such violence, and to allocate additional resources to improve services and actively promote the development of the 'third sector', so as to optimize the social capital, promote community development services, encourage self-help and mutual support among the public, strengthen the community support network, enhance the capabilities of individuals and families in resolving their difficulties in life, for the purpose of cultivating the community spirit of mutual support, care and love among residents; the measures to be formulated by the Government to curb domestic violence should include:
(a)establishing a central inter-departmental coordinating committee chaired by the Chief Secretary for Administration, with membership including representatives from community and self-help organizations which understand domestic violence;
(b)extending the Domestic Violence Ordinance to cover more people, and enhance the protection for those under protection;
(c)establishing a court dedicated to domestic violence cases;
(d)establishing a 24-hour domestic violence hotline and round-the-clock support teams comprising social workers, police officers and professionals from various disciplines;
(e)setting clear work indicators and plans under the Government's policy of 'zero tolerance' of domestic violence;
(f)establishing a review committee on serious injuries and deaths caused by domestic violence, with the responsibility to review the effectiveness of cross-sectoral coordination and collaboration regarding cases of serious domestic violence, in order to avoid the recurrence of similar cases;
(g)establishing, under the central mechanism, a community-based coordinating mechanism with an operating structure modelled on that of the Fight Crime Committee, so as to promote awareness of domestic violence and educate people in the local communities, and to facilitate coordination of and communication in carrying out the work in the districts;
(h)allocating more resources to enable the victims of domestic violence to obtain the necessary legal services at an early stage;
(i)providing more resources that are required for the provision of training for front-line staff and the implementation of other complementary measures;
(j)establishing support groups composed of victims of domestic violence, and providing them with training to promote mutual support;
(k)establishing a domestic violence fund to provide financial support for organizations engaged in preventing domestic violence and providing domestic violence support, so as to demonstrate the Government's determination to combat domestic violence and truly implement its policy of 'zero tolerance' of such violence;
(l)making it mandatory for abusers to receive counselling and treatment;
(m)studying making it mandatory for the relevant professionals to report domestic violence cases that they handle; and
(n)offering compassionate housing assistance to victims of domestic violence."

(3)Motion on "Expeditiously improving the traffic arrangements in the western and northwestern parts of the New Territories", moved by Hon Mrs Selina CHOW LIANG Shuk-yee as amended by Hon WONG Kwok-hing and further amended by Hon CHEUNG Hok-ming

"That, given the impending commissioning of the Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Corridor at the end of this year, which will substantially increase the traffic load in the western and northwestern parts of the New Territories, this Council urges the Government to formulate as early as possible corresponding strategies, including:
(a)buying out the ownership of Route 3 at a reasonable price and opening it up for use by motorists;
(b)constructing the Easterly Link Road that connects the Deep Bay Link and Route 3, so as to divert the traffic flow from Tuen Mun Road;
(c)expeditiously completing the extension of Tuen Mun Road;
(d)implementing the Northern Link project as early as possible and expeditiously completing the Kowloon Southern Link project to perfect the railway network and encourage residents of the Northwest New Territories to make use of the railways for travelling to and from different districts, so as to alleviate the pressure on Tuen Mun Road and Route 3; and
(e)setting reasonable fares that are acceptable to the public, so as to encourage them to use the railway transport system,
thereby alleviating the deteriorating traffic congestion in that district and avoiding causing great nuisance or inconvenience to local residents; furthermore, the Government may also lower the existing tolls by such means as extending the franchise period of Route 3; and should expeditiously construct the Tuen Mun Western Bypass, the Tuen Mun to Chek Lap Kok Link, as well as the Tuen Mun Eastern Bypass, while the environmental impact of the alignment of the relevant roads must be adequately assessed, with a view to reducing undesirable effects on the local environment; and expedite the various traffic improvements to the Tuen Mun town centre section of Tuen Mun Road."