Council Meeting (Agenda) 10 January 2007


A 06/07-13

Legislative Council

Agenda

Wednesday 10 January 2007 at 11:00 am

I. Tabling of Papers
Subsidiary Legislation / Instruments L.N. No.
1.Declaration of Constituencies (District Councils) Order 2006275/2006
2.Lands Tribunal (Amendment) Rules 2006281/2006
3.Merchant Shipping (Local Vessels) Ordinance (Commencement) Notice282/2006
4.Merchant Shipping (Local Vessels) (Fees) Regulation (Commencement) Notice283/2006
5.Merchant Shipping (Local Vessels) (Safety and Survey) Regulation (Commencement) Notice284/2006
6.Merchant Shipping (Local Vessels) (Typhoon Shelters) Regulation (Commencement) Notice285/2006
7.Merchant Shipping (Local Vessels) (Works) Regulation (Commencement) Notice286/2006
8.Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Pollution by Sewage) Regulation (Commencement) Notice287/2006
9.Shipping and Port Control (Amendment) Ordinance 1999 (Commencement) Notice 2006288/2006
10.Shipping and Port Control (Cargo Handling) (Repeal) Regulation (Commencement) Notice289/2006
11.Shipping and Port Control (Works) Regulation (Commencement) Notice290/2006
12.Human Organ Transplant (Amendment) Ordinance 2004 (Commencement) Notice 2006291/2006
13.Quarantine and Prevention of Disease Ordinance (Amendment of First Schedule) Order 20071/2007
14.Prevention of the Spread of Infectious Diseases Regulations (Amendment of Form) Order 20072/2007
15.Construction Workers Registration Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 1) Notice 20073/2007
16.Construction Workers Registration Ordinance (Commencement) Notice 20074/2007

Other Papers

1. No.55-Annual Report 2005-2006 of the Hospital Authority, which contains Statement of Accounts and Auditors' Report
(to be presented by Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food)

2. No.56-Report and Statement of Accounts of the Samaritan Fund, together with the Director of Audit's Report, for the year ended 31 March 2006
(to be presented by Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food)

II. Questions

1. Hon Andrew LEUNG Kwan-yuen to ask: (Translation)

The International Telecommunication Union TELECOM WORLD 2006, recently concluded in Hong Kong, was the first TELECOM WORLD ever held in a city other than Geneva. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the tangible and intangible economic benefits that this event has brought to such industries as telecommunications, convention and exhibition, hotel, tourism, catering and retail, etc.; and

    (b)as many cities in the region are vigorously developing markets for their convention and exhibition industries, whether the Government will introduce measures after this event to enhance Hong Kong's status as a major international convention and exhibition centre in the region?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Commerce, Industry and Technology

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

It has been reported that the common facilities and building designs of new public housing estates fail to address the needs of the elderly. Many elderly people trip and fall at the corners in some building blocks as these corners are too narrow. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the respective numbers, broken down by districts and housing estates, of the elderly aged 65 or above living in public housing estates at present and their respective percentages in the total population in the housing estates; and

    (b)whether it has considered formulating long-term public housing policies on provision of elderly housing to plan for, and provide, adequate building facilities, common facilities as well as ancillary housing facilities which cater for the needs and safety of the elderly in newly developed estates and old-style estates with ageing population based on the distribution of elderly population in various districts?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

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

In recent years, culprits of street deceptions have employed many different defrauding tricks, for instance, by making excuses such as seeking spiritual blessings for removing misfortunes for the victims, sharing with the victims a large sum of money found on the street, and jointly buying and reselling magic drugs or high-tech components with the victims to make a profit, etc. Earlier, there was also a case in which a woman reported that she had been cheated of her life savings of more than a million dollars. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the number of street deception cases reported to the Police last year and the number of such cases solved by the Police, as well as the penalties imposed on the convicts; and

    (b)whether it has assessed the effectiveness of the measures taken to combat street deceptions by non-locals in Hong Kong, and whether any new measures will be put in place?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Security

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

The Hospital Authority ("HA") is progressively extending the Telephone Booking Service implemented for patients with episodic illnesses (i.e. patients who do not require regular follow-up consultations) to all its general outpatient clinics. I have received quite a number of complaints from the elderly that, owing to a limited quota on the outpatient consultation service and the complex telephone booking procedure, they find it difficult to book consultation appointments, and that different clinics using different booking telephone numbers also causes inconvenience to them. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it knows:
    (a)the number of complaints received by HA so far about the Telephone Booking Service;

    (b)if HA will, from the perspective of facilitating patients, consider the alternative of assigning a single telephone number for the Telephone Booking Service, and of the resource and technical difficulties for HA to provide at the same time different means for booking consultation appointments, including queuing up in person, through the Internet or interactive telephone system; and

    (c)if HA will consider increasing the quota for outpatient consultation service, thereby alleviating patients' anxiety arising from the fear of failing to secure an consultation appointment; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food

5. Dr Hon LUI Ming-wah to ask:
(Translation)

Further to the completion of the one-year pilot study on desalination in Tuen Mun, the Water Supplies Department is now conducting another study in Ap Lei Chau. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the findings of the pilot studies on desalination conducted in the two places mentioned above;

    (b)of the per-cubic-metre cost of desalination and the respective percentages of various expenditure items (such as construction and maintenance of plants, electricity, osmosis membranes and chemicals used for removing impurities and disinfection, etc) in relation to such cost; and

    (c)whether it plans to build a desalting plant using the reverse osmosis technique to help solve in the long run the problem of potable water supply in Hong Kong?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

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

The Airport Authority Hong Kong ("AA") recently announced in December 2006 that a third air cargo terminal would be built by way of open tender. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether it has assessed Hong Kong's future demand for air cargo services and air cargo handling capacity; if it has, of the assessment results; if not, the reasons for that;

    (b)whether it knows the factors considered by AA in deciding to build the third air cargo terminal; and

    (c)whether it has assessed the impact of building the third air cargo terminal on the air cargo industry; if it has, of the assessment results; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

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

Upon full implementation of the Construction Workers Registration Ordinance, the work described in Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the Ordinance may only be carried out by registered skilled workers for the relevant designated trades, or by registered construction workers under the instruction and supervision of such registered skilled workers. That Schedule also stipulates that only the "competent lift workers" and "competent escalator workers" (hereinafter "competent workers") within the meaning of section 29A(4) of the Lifts and Escalators (Safety) Ordinance may be registered as skilled workers for lifts and escalators respectively. Some trade unions have estimated that at present, about 3 000 persons cannot be registered because they are not regarded as competent workers for the reason that they are not directly employed by registered contractors for the relevant trades. Notwithstanding that some of these workers have over 10 years of work experience, all of them can only be registered as general construction workers and some of them may eventually be forced to switch to other trades. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it will adopt any one of the following measures:
    (a)to amend the definitions of competent workers in the Lifts and Escalators (Safety) Ordinance to include mechanics who are not directly employed by registered contractors for the relevant trades but have the specified years of work experience; and

    (b)to amend the Construction Workers Registration Ordinance by allowing lift and escalator mechanics who do not fall within the definitions of competent workers but with a certain number of years of work experience to be registered as skilled workers?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands

*8. Hon Tommy CHEUNG to ask:
(Translation)

Will the Government:
    (a)inform this Council whether it has studied the trend of changes in size among local restaurants; if so, of the results of the study; if not, whether the authorities will conduct such a study to assess how Hong Kong's economic conditions have affected the development of restaurants; and

    (b)set out in the following table the respective numbers of licensed general restaurants in various size groups and their percentages in the total number of such restaurants in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006?

    Size groups adopted by
    the Food and
    Environmental Hygiene
    Department for the
    purpose of determining
    restaurant licence fees
    Licensed general restaurants
    2004-20052005-2006
    Exceeding
    (m2)
    Not exceeding
    (m2)
    NumberPercentageNumberPercentage

    100



    100150



    150200



    200250



    250300



    300350



    350400



    400450



    450500



    500600



    600700



    700800



    800900



    9001 000



    1 0002 000



    2 0003 000



    3 0004 000



    4 0005 000



    5 000




Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food

*9. Hon KWONG Chi-kin to ask:
(Translation)

As a post office was robbed recently, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the total number of post offices at which the PayThruPost service is provided at present; and among them, of the respective numbers of post offices which are manned by only one or two staff members, have glass screens or closed-circuit televisions installed, and have security guards stationed;

    (b)of the criteria for deciding whether or not to adopt the above security measures; and

    (c)whether it will implement such measures in all those post offices at which the above service is provided but the security measures have not been adopted; if it will, when the measures will be implemented; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

*10. Hon CHAN Kam-lam to ask:
(Translation)

According to the Cooperation Agreement on Cross-boundary Marine Dumping signed between the Government and the State Oceanic Administration ("SOA") in March 2004, public fill from Hong Kong may be delivered to the Mainland for disposal. After the South China Sea Branch of SOA had determined the reception point in the Mainland for receiving public fill, the Government invited tenders in April last year to commission a contractor to operate the public fill reception facilities in Hong Kong and deliver public fill to the designated reclamation sites in the Mainland. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether, prior to the tendering exercise, it was aware of the fact that the successful tenderer has to bear the costs for the construction of infrastructural facilities at the reception sites in the Mainland, as well as the requirements which will be imposed on the successful tenderer by the mainland authority; if it was, of the reasons for not setting out the details in the tender document;

    (b)of the average disposal charge per tonne of public fill based on the value of the contract awarded by the Government; and whether it knows if the successful tenderer concerned has taken into account the above costs for infrastructural facilities in setting its bid price;

    (c)whether the Government is required to pay the mainland authority in respect of the disposal of public fill from Hong Kong; if so, of the rate of charge per tonne; and

    (d)as a tenderer has pointed out that the mainland authority had considered designating the Dayawan Petrochemical Industry Park as the public fill reception point but eventually chose Guanghaiwan of Taishan, which is farther away from Hong Kong, whether the Government is aware of the reasons why the Mainland authority has made such a decision?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

*11. Hon LEE Cheuk-yan to ask:
(Translation)

According to Financial Circular No. 4/2006 issued by the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury to Directors of Bureaux and Controlling Officers, in respect of the tenders invited for government service contracts (excluding construction service contracts) that rely heavily on the deployment of non-skilled workers, a tender bid should not be considered if the tenderer concerned has been convicted of any of the following provisions during a certain period in the past: the provisions under the Employment Ordinance (Cap. 57) and the Employees' Compensation Ordinance (Cap. 282) which carry a maximum fine corresponding to Level 5 or higher within the meaning of Schedule 8 to the Criminal Procedure Ordinance (Cap. 221); sections 17I(1), 38A(4) and 41 of the Immigration Ordinance (Cap. 115); section 89 of the Criminal Procedure Ordinance; and sections 7, 7A and 43E of the Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Ordinance (Cap. 485). For tenders invited in the first year from 1 May 2006, the reference period of conviction records will be the past 12-month period immediately preceding the tender closing date; for tenders invited within the following four years, the reference period will be from 1 May 2006 to the tender closing date; and for tenders invited thereafter, the reference period will be the five-year period immediately preceding the tender closing date. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the names of security/guarding services companies or cleansing services companies which have been convicted, within the period from 1 May 2005 to the present, of having breached any of the above provisions, and for each of the cases, of the case reference number, the charge(s), the penalty imposed, and whether the company concerned is currently engaged in any government service contract (if so, of the name of the relevant government department and the details of the service contract); and

    (b)whether it will consider any tender bid lodged by a company which has one or more of its employees (who are neither shareholders nor partners of the company) convicted, within the reference period of conviction records, of having breached any of the above provisions?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

*12. Hon MA Lik to ask:
(Translation)

Will the Government inform this Council of:
    (a)the respective numbers of complaints received, in each of the past three years, from coastal residents about the noise nuisance caused by vessels, with a breakdown by the districts in which they live;

    (b)the procedure adopted by the authorities for handling such complaints and the follow-up actions they have taken; and

    (c)the measures and legislation in place to regulate the level of noise emission and the operation areas of vessels, in order to minimize the noise nuisance caused by vessels to coastal residents; whether it has assessed if there is a need to step up regulation; if it has and the assessment result is in the affirmative, of the options under consideration?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

*13. Hon LI Fung-ying to ask:
(Translation)

It has been reported that as the local economy has improved, the surplus of the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund ("PWIF") has reached nearly $600 million. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it will consider extending the coverage of PWIF to include default Mandatory Provident Fund contributions by employers? Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Economic Development and Labour

*14. Hon Daniel LAM Wai-keung to ask:
(Translation)

With the successive commissioning of a number of major tourist and other facilities, there is an increasing demand for land transport on Lantau Island. Furthermore, the road works with a cost of over $1 billion to widen Tung Chung Road, which links North and South Lantau, will be completed in 2007. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)whether Tung Chung Road will be fully open to all vehicles upon the completion of the above project so as to facilitate movements of local residents; if not, of the reasons for that; and

    (b)whether it plans to widen South Lantau Road for the convenience of local residents; if not, of the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

*15. Hon Audrey EU to ask:
(Translation)

At the end of 2004, the Government announced its new nature conservation policy, under which a public-private partnership pilot scheme would be launched for enhancing conservation of priority sites. Six applications for public-private partnership were received in 2005 but the result of the applications is still not available. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the exact dates on which the above six applications were received by the departments concerned;

    (b)of the total number of meetings so far held to examine the six applications by the Inter-departmental Task Force concerned; and

    (c)whether it would set a time limit for processing the six applications so that the priority sites will not be affected by prolonged processing time?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

*16. Hon James TO to ask:
(Translation)

After putting the West Kowloon Cultural District development project on hold temporarily, the Government has provisionally developed the site into a waterfront promenade, but the number of people going there is small. It is learnt that the Government has allocated an additional $9 million last year to provide additional facilities at the waterfront promenade, and will make greater efforts to tackle the problem of supporting transport facilities. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the works progress of the facilities, including the open air cafes, at the above waterfront promenade;

    (b)whether the number of visitors to the 10-day Mid-Autumn lantern display organised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department at that waterfront promenade last year meets the target of 6 000; whether it has reviewed the adequacy of supporting transport facilities during the period of the display and the suitability of the venue concerned for holding large-scale activities;

    (c)whether it plans to organise activities at the waterfront promenade during Lunar New Year or other specified dates on its own or in collaboration with other organisations in order to attract more visitors; if so, please list out the information of such activities, including their names, types and organisers, according to the dates of the activities; and

    (d)as I was told by the Transport Department that it would discuss with green minibus operators on the provision of feeder transport service at that waterfront promenade, of the progress of such discussion; and whether the Government will consider implementing a trial scheme, whereby scheduled feeder service will be arranged on holidays for people travelling to and from the waterfront promenade, when the provision of such service by green minibus operators cannot be arranged?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Home Affairs

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

It has been reported that it is a very common practice among farm operators to use hormones to stimulate the growth of animals and plants. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)how the existing legislation regulates the permitted levels of hormones contained in animals and plants on sale for food consumption; if there is no such regulation over various types of hormones used for the above purpose, of the reasons for that, and whether it will legislate in this regard; if it will legislate, of the details;

    (b)whether the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department ("FEHD") has taken food samples regularly to test the level of hormones contained therein; if so, of the number of samples taken in the past three years and, among such samples, the number of those found to have contained hormones as well as the relevant details; if not, whether FEHD will include hormones as an item for chemical tests under the Food Surveillance Programme; and

    (c)whether it has conducted any research on whether consumption of foods with excessive hormones may lead to early maturity in children; if so, of the research findings; if not, whether such research will be conducted and, if so, of the research timetable?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food

*18. Hon TAM Heung-man to ask:
(Translation)

The Government announced on 5 December last year that it would stop advocating the Goods and Services Tax but continue the public consultation on other options for broadening the tax base. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
    (a)of the channels through which the Government facilitates the public's understanding of the various options to broaden the tax base, apart from uploading the Final Report of the Advisory Committee on New Broad-based Taxes submitted in 2002 onto the relevant government web site;

    (b)whether it has now set priorities for the choice of the various options for broadening the tax base; if it has, of the details; and

    (c)whether it will adhere to the "revenue-neutral" principle in adopting any options to broaden the tax base, i.e. to reduce the burden of the existing taxes on the public while introducing new taxes; if it will, of the types of the existing taxes involved; if not, the reasons for that?
Public Officer to reply : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

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

In an environmental impact assessment report submitted to the Government in October last year, the CLP Power Hong Kong Limited proposed to construct a liquefied natural gas ("LNG") receiving terminal on Tai A Chau. However, some green groups have pointed out that the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department had, as early as 2002, proposed to designate Soko Islands, which include Tai A Chau, and the surrounding waters as a marine park but the relevant statutory procedures had not yet commenced. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of the reasons why the plan to designate the marine park has not been implemented so far and whether it will be put on hold as a result of the LNG receiving terminal project? Public Officer to reply : Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works

*For written reply.

III. Members' Motions

  1. Enhancing the efficacy of the management of public finances

    Hon TAM Heung-man: (Translation)

    That this Council urges the Government, when drawing up the 2007-2008 Budget, to continue to uphold the principle of fiscal prudence whereby expenditure and savings are effected as necessary, strive to enhance the efficacy of the management of public finances, explicitly stipulate the appropriate level of fiscal reserves, and explore how the fiscal surplus in 2006-2007 can be returned to the people through various feasible measures.

    Amendments to motion
    (i)Hon SIN Chung-kai: (Translation)

    To add ", as the Government has expressly indicated that the fiscal surplus for this year will be able to achieve its target," after "That"; to delete "strive" after "as necessary," and substitute with "and while striving"; to delete "stipulate" after "explicitly" and substitute with "adhere to"; to delete "," after "fiscal reserves" and substitute with "stipulated by the Government, i.e. maintaining the reserves at a level equivalent to 12 months of government expenditure;"; and to add ", including reverting the allowances, tax bands and marginal tax rates under salaries tax to the 2002-2003 level so as to relieve the tax burden on taxpayers" immediately before the full stop.

    (ii)Hon Jeffrey LAM Kin-fung: (Translation)

    To add ", as the HKSAR Government's fiscal surplus for this year is anticipated to substantially exceed its expected target," after "That"; to add "that" after "this Council urges"; to delete "to continue" after "2007-2008 Budget," and substitute with "apart from continuing"; to delete "strive to enhance" after "as necessary," and substitute with "striving to cut expenditure and improve efficiency as well as enhancing"; to add "should also" after "management of public finances,"; to add "improve the investment return rate of the Exchange Fund" after "appropriate level of fiscal reserves,"; to add "properly" after "fiscal surplus in 2006-2007 can be"; and to add ", including reducing the tax rates, particularly to relieve the difficulties encountered by the middle class, striving to improve the business environment, enhancing the competitiveness of enterprises and strengthening support for small and medium enterprises" immediately before the full stop.

    Public Officer to attend : Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury

  2. Non-local pregnant women giving birth in Hong Kong

    Dr Hon Joseph LEE Kok-long: (Translation)

    That, as the number of non-local pregnant women giving birth in Hong Kong has multiplied in recent years, public hospital services are so overloaded that local pregnant women are unable to receive the public health care services to which they are entitled, and Hong Kong's health care services, population, education, housing, social welfare, etc are also adversely affected, this Council urges the Government to expeditiously formulate feasible and effective policies and measures to re-allocate public resources, so as to resolve the problems brought about by non-local pregnant women giving birth in Hong Kong.

    Amendments to motion
    (i)Dr Hon KWOK Ka-ki: (Translation)

    To delete "non-local" after "the number of" and substitute with "Mainland"; to delete "in recent years" after "has multiplied" and substitute with "since the CHONG Fung-yuen case in 2001"; to delete "expeditiously" after "this Council urges the Government to" and substitute with "immediately: (a) provide additional resources for the Hospital Authority to tackle the problems brought to Hong Kong's entire public health care system by the large number of Mainland pregnant women flocking to Hong Kong to give birth, as well as to alleviate the tremendous work pressure on frontline health care workers; and (b) conduct a comprehensive study on the implications of the large number of Mainland pregnant women giving birth in Hong Kong on the territory's various public services and financial commitments, and"; and to delete "non-local" after "the problems brought about by" and substitute with "Mainland".

    (ii)Hon Andrew CHENG: (Translation)

    To add "given that the spouses of many non-local pregnant women are not Hong Kong residents either," after "they are entitled, and"; to delete "also" after "social welfare, etc are"; to add "collect information in order to understand the future implications on the territory of the large number of non-local pregnant women giving birth in Hong Kong," after "this Council urges the Government to expeditiously"; to delete "to re-allocate" after "policies and measures" and substitute with ", including cracking down on the syndicates which arrange for the Mainlanders to overstay in Hong Kong to wait for childbirth, so as to resolve the problems brought about by non-local pregnant women giving birth in Hong Kong, and provide additional"; and to delete ", so as to resolve the problems brought about by non-local pregnant women giving birth in Hong Kong" after "public resources" and substitute with "to ensure that the health care services for local pregnant women will not be affected".

    Public Officers to attend :Secretary for Security
    Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food
Clerk to the Legislative Council