LC Paper No. LS170/98-99
Paper for the House Committee Meeting
Object(s) of the Bill
of the Legislative Council
on 30 April 1999
Legal Service Division Report on
Provision of Municipal Services (Reorganization) Bill
To make provisions for the dissolution of the Provisional Regional Council and the Provisional Urban Council, and for the transfer of their powers and functions to the Government or designated public bodies.
LegCo Brief Reference
2. C4/17/7 dated 22 April 1999 issued by the Constitutional Affairs Bureau.
Date of First Reading
3. 28 April 1999.
4. This Bill provides the statutory framework for the Administration's proposal to reorganize the provision of municipal services and to dissolve the Provisional Regional Council and the Provisional Urban Council ("the two municipal councils").
5. The Provisional Regional Council Ordinance (Cap. 385) and the Provisional Urban Council Ordinance (Cap. 101) provide for the incorporation, constitution, functions and powers of the two municipal councils respectively. The two municipal councils perform the functions and exercise the powers under the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance (Cap. 132). Members of the two municipal councils are appointed by the Chief Executive for the term set out in their appointment but not later than 31 December 1999.
6. The Bill proposes to repeal the Provisional Regional Council Ordinance and the Provisional Urban Council Ordinance and transfer the properties, rights and liabilities of the two municipal councils to the Government. The existing functions and powers of the two municipal councils in liquor licensing and determination of municipal services appeals are proposed to be transferred to new statutory boards. According to the LegCo Brief, the target date for the operation of the proposed provisions is 1 January 2000, the date which immediately follows the expiry date of the appointments of members of the two municipal councils.
7. The bulk of the Bill concerns with the proposed amendments to the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance and its subsidiary legislation. At present, there are two sets of subsidiary legislation applying to the Regional Council area and the Urban Council area respectively. In most cases, the subsidiary legislation on a specific topic for the two council areas are almost identical. In such cases the Bill proposes to adopt one of the subsidiary legislation, give it a new title, make necessary adaptations to it, and repeal the other. According to the LegCo Brief, the Administration has chosen the more comprehensive one to be adapted. The proposed amendments to the Public Health and Municipal Services Ordinance and its subsidiary legislation are contained in Schedule 3 to the Bill.
8. The consequential amendments to various other Ordinances for implementing the reorganization are contained in Schedules 4 to 7 to the Bill.
9. Paragraph 32 of the LegCo Brief states that the Administration has conducted extensive public consultation on the proposed dissolution of the two municipal councils and setting up a new structure for the delivery of municipal services.
Consultation with the LegCo Panel
10. The Administration has briefed the Panel on Constitutional Affairs, Panel on Environmental Affairs, Panel on Home Affairs and Panel on Health Services in various meetings of the Panels on the proposed reorganization. Specifically on this Bill, the Administration briefed the joint meeting of the Panel on Health Services, Panel on Environmental Affairs and Panel on Constitutional Affairs on 8 February 1999 (LC Paper No. CB(2)1235/98-99(02) refers). The minutes of the meeting is in LC Paper No. CB(2)1470/98-99.
11. The proposed dissolution of the two municipal councils and changes to the structure for the provision of public health and municipal services have generated considerable public attention and debate. The Legal Service Division is still scrutinizing the legal aspects of the Bill. Meanwhile, Members may wish to set up a Bill Committees to consider the policy aspects in detail.
Senior Assistant Legal Adviser
Legislative Council Secretariat
28 April 1999