Legislative Council

LC Paper No. CB(2)746/98-99
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)

Ref : CB2/PL/HA

LegCo Panel on Home Affairs

Minutes of Meeting
held on Monday, 12 October 1998 at 4:30 pm
in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building Members Present :

Hon CHOY So-yuk (Chairman)
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon Christine LOH
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Hon Jasper TSANG Yok-sing, JP
Hon LAU Wong-fat, GBS, JP
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JP
Hon LAW Chi-kwong, JP

Members Absent :

Hon Albert HO Chun-yan (Deputy Chairman)
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam

Members Attending :

Hon LEE Kai-ming, JP
Hon Ronald ARCULLI, JP
Hon CHAN Yuen-han

Public Officers Attending :

Item II

Mr David LAN
Secretary for Home Affairs

Mrs Shelley LAU
Director of Home Affairs

Mr Peter LO
Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs (1)

Mr NG Sek-hon
Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs (3)

Item III

Mr NG Sek-hon
Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs (3)

Urban Services Department

Mr Isaac CHOW Yiu-nam
Deputy Director (Leisure Services)

Assistant Director (Leisure Policy)

Mr Johnny WOO
Assistant Director (Leisure Management)

Chief Recreation & Sport Officer (Leisure Services)

Regional Services Department

Mr Eddy YAU
Assistant Director (Leisure Services)
Attendance by Invitation :

Item III

Hong Kong Sports Development Board

Mr Billy KONG MH

Mr Andrew MA
Chief Executive

Mr Patrick HO
Director, Corporate Management

Ms IP Hay Wood
Director, Sports Development

Director, Elite Training

Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong

Mr PANG Chung
Secretary General

Mrs Vivien FUNG
Vice President

Vice President
Clerk in Attendance :

Mrs Constance LI
Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 2
Staff in Attendance :

Mrs Justina LAM
Assistant Secretary General 2

Miss Flora TAI
Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 2
I. Items for discussion at the next meeting
[Appendix to LC Paper No. CB(2)383/98-99]

With reference to the list of discussion items for future meetings, the Chairman suggested and members agreed that the next regular meeting scheduled for Monday, 9 November 1998 at 4:30 pm be devoted to the discussion of the Initial Report of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) under Article 18 of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Members further agreed that the Panel would consider meeting concerned organizations upon request.

II. Briefing on the Chief Executive's Policy Address 1998 by the Secretary for Home Affairs

2. At the invitation of the Chairman, Secretary for Home Affairs (SHA) highlighted the policy objectives as contained in the following booklets of the Home Affairs Bureau (HAB) under the Chief Executive 1998 Policy Address -

  1. the rights of the individual;

  2. community and youth development;

  3. building management; and

  4. arts, culture, sport and recreation.
The rights of the individual

3. Referring to the Chief Executive's Policy Address, SHA said that the Initial Report of the HKSAR under Article 18 of the CEDAW had been submitted as part of the report of Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China to the United Nations at the end of August 1998. The report had been released to the public and was also available on the Internet. He supplemented that compilation of the HKSAR reports under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment would soon be completed.

Community and youth development

District Boards

4. SHA said that the Chief Executive's 1998 Policy Address had reflected the contribution made by the District Boards (DBs) in advising the Government and in monitoring the services relating to local environment, cultural and recreational activities and community building. To enhance the vital role of the DBs in community development, the Administration would -

  1. provide additional funding to the DBs for improving the local environment and commissioning cultural and recreational activities;

  2. enhance DBs' role in advising on and monitoring delivery of municipal services; and

  3. ensure that the Government would be more responsive to DBs' advice, by consulting them before finalizing district programmes.
SHA added that HAB had discussed the Administration's plan to enhance DB's role with the chairmen of 18 DBs and it had been well-received.

5. Ms Emily LAU asked whether HAB had been fully consulted by CAB on the review of district organizations. SHA said that SCA had kept him and his Bureau fully informed about the review as HAB would have the responsibility of implementation if a decision was taken on the future district organisation.

6. Mr LAU Wong-fat expressed concern about the measures to be taken to enhance the working relationship between districts and relevant Government bureaux/departments under the proposed structure. He considered that unless a DB chairman had a role to play in the performance appraisal of responsible officers in respective districts including the district officer, it would be difficult to ensure that various bureaux and departments would consult the DB before finalizing their district programmes. SHA said that HAB would do its utmost to enhance the working relationship between DBs and various bureaux and departments. SHA noted that Mr LAU had expressed a similar view previously, and SHA had already relayed Mr LAU's concern to the Chief Executive and the Chief Secretary for Administration. As regards enhancing the accountability of government officers to DBs in district matters, SHA said that it might not be practical for a DB chairman to play a role in the performance appraisal of every responsible government officers in the district. He considered that it would be more important if government bureaux and departments could strengthen their working relationship with DBs.

7. Mr LEE Wing-tat commented that the Administration's plan to enhance DBs' role in district administration was nothing new as the proposal had been discussed some years ago. Director of Home Affairs (DHA) responded that during a recent meeting with the 18 DB Chairmen, the latter indicated support of the Administration's proposal. They considered that the proposal had fully addressed the concerns and suggestions put forward by DB members at a seminar held in November 1996 on the development of district organizations which was attended by over 300 DB members. However, Mr LEE Wing-tat pointed out that the Administration had not taken heed of other suggestions of DB members regarding delegation of executive powers for managing district affairs and setting up independent secretariats to provide service to the DBs. DHA responded that the Administration had not ruled out these suggestions. A working group comprising representatives of HAB and Constitutional Affairs Bureau (CAB) had been set up to examine ways to implement the Administration's proposal in paragraph 4. These would include ways to enhance the service and accountability of DB secretariats and to strengthen the monitoring role of DBs with regard to district management and provision of services on arts, culture, sports and recreation. The Administration hoped to be able to discuss with Panel members when more concrete proposals of the working group were available in six months' time.Adm

8. Mr Andrew WONG said that he had all along supported the idea of abolishing the second tier of district organizations (i.e. the municipal councils). However, his proposal was for the two municipal councils and all DBs to be merged to form a small number of regional bodies with executive powers. If DBs were to remain as advisory bodies after the abolition of the municipal councils, there would be no improvement to the efficiency of district administration and this would be a retrograde step in democracy. If that was to be the new structure, a system would need to be put in place to enhance the accountability of bureaux and departments in district affairs. In this connection, he asked the Administration as to whether the Legislative Council could amend the bill on the election of future District Councils to give the latter executive powers. SHA undertook to relay Mr WONG's question to the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs (S for CA). However, he pointed out that at his meeting with DB chairmen, the majority of them had not requested executive powers as proposed by Mr WONG. Instead, DB chairmen were more concerned about their monitoring role in district affairs.SHA

Rural improvements

9. Referring to implementation of the Rural Planning Improvement Strategy (RPIS) Minor Works Programme and minor environmental improvement projects, SHA informed members that HAB would spend up to $588 million in 1999-2000 in improving the rural environment. Mr LAU Wang-fat asked whether the Administration would, in view of the economic downturn, consider speeding up the RPIS projects to provide more business to local contractors and create employment opportunities. DHA responded that the Administration had a ten-year programme to improve the facilities and environment in rural villages. The Administration had already agreed to bring forward an additional $100 million of the total RPIS provision of $1.6 billion, so that many rural improvements projects could be brought forward for completion in 1999-2000. She had also requested the DBs to support the implementation of rural improvement projects in the respective districts.

Youth development

10. SHA informed members that the Commission on Youth had completed the survey on civic awareness and moral values of young people. The Commission had recommended a three-pronged approach in youth development -

  1. to reinforce and promote positive values among young people;

  2. to provide structured leadership training programmes to meet the developmental needs of youth at different stages; and

  3. to call for the efforts of the whole community in enhancing the qualities of young people.

SHA pointed out that the Administration endorsed the Commission's recommendations and would do its utmost to provide opportunities for youth development. The Administration would re-develop the Chai Wan Community Centre to provide a central facility for youth development activities which would include facilities for conferences, seminars, international exchange programmes and accommodation.

Building management

11. SHA informed members that, to improve the quality of building management, the first Building Management Resource Centre (BMRC) in Kowloon had commenced operation since June 1998. In view of the positive response, the Administration would establish two more BMRCs, one on the Hong Kong Island and another in the New Territories. Moreover, the Central Steering Committee on Fire Safety chaired by himself had been established to improve fire safety and building management. District Fire Safety Committees had also been set up in nine districts to promote fire safety at district level. In conjunction with the Security Bureau, HAB had completed a two-month public consultation exercise on "Proposals to improve fire safety in private buildings'. Following the public consultation exercise, HAB had taken pro-active measures for the improvement of management and maintenance of private buildings by helping owners of new buildings to form owners' corporations.

12. SHA said that Building Management Co-ordination Teams had been formed to identify target buildings with serious management and safety problems and also to co-ordinate efforts to help owners carry out improvements. Referring to HAB's pledge to identify 65 new "target" buildings and to have 19 improved buildings removed from the "target" list in 1999-2000, Mr TSANG Yok-sing asked how such performance indicators were arrived at. DHA responded that the indicators were set with regard to the availability of manpower resources of the Buildings Department in dealing with ‘target' buildings.

Arts, culture, sport and recreation

13. SHA informed members that the recurrent government funding allocated to the Hong Kong Arts Development Council (HKADC) amounted to $109.7 million in 1998-99 and $188.4 million was granted to the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts to provide places for 700 students. To provide an additional venue for international events, the Administration was planning to build a new, state-of-the-art performance venue on the West Kowloon reclamation. The Administration would also examine the need to provide a new sports stadium.

14. SHA stressed that the HAB's policy objective in respect of arts development was to facilitate a successful blend of the best of the East and West, and also to promote Hong Kong culture and heritage. HAB would continue its efforts in heritage preservation and education and would consider the implementation of a heritage award scheme in recognition of efforts in this respect.

15. Ms HO Sau-lan referred to the booklet on "Community and youth development" which had described "nurture the growth of a stronger understanding of our community and culture" as one of the key result areas. Ms HO said that while she agreed with the Administration that efforts should be made to increase awareness of Hong Kong's heritage, community development in culture should not be limited to heritage. She pointed out that the booklet only concentrated on training of professional artists without any indication on the development of an audience in arts. Arts and cultural organisations should be encouraged not to rely on Government subsidies to survive. Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs 3 (DS(HA)3) responded that HKADC had addressed the need for community involvement in arts and culture by -

  1. requesting arts and cultural organizations which sought three-year grants to draw up a three-year plan to promote community participation; and

  2. requiring arts and cultural organizations which applied for three-year grants to reduce their dependency on or funding support from HKADC by phases, in order to encourage them to develop and sustain their own audience.

16. On development of sports activities, Ms HO Sau-lan queried why the booklet on "Arts, culture, sport and recreation" focused mainly on elite training and success of Hong Kong's athletes in national and international events. It appeared that community participation was not one of the policy objectives of HAB. SHA explained that the booklet did not describe much about development and participation of the community in arts and sport, partly because these were the tasks of the two Provisional Municipal Councils. In this connection, DS(HA)3 pointed out that Part IV of the booklet gave details of the performance indicators in respect of the usage rates of cultural, sports and recreational facilities and attendance levels at cultural and sporting events. Moreover, the Administration had been providing funding support through the HKADC to a wide variety of arts and cultural activities for the purpose of promoting community participation and development.

17. Mr MA Fung-kwok also asked why the policy objective of HAB did not give details on how to deliver the services on arts, culture and sport after abolition of the provisional municipal councils. He asked whether the Administration had conducted an overall review of the existing structure and functions of the bodies responsible for delivery of these services. In response, SHA assured members that HAB would conduct the review as soon as possible since a new administrative framework would need to be in place if the two provisional municipal councils ceased to exist by the end of 1999.

As regards the impact of the review of district organizations on the areas of arts, culture, and sport and recreation, SHA said that HAB would consult relevant organizations including the HKADC, the Hong Kong Sports Development Board (HKSDB) and the Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China (ASF&OC) in mapping out the way forward. In response to Ms Emily LAU, SHA said that although the Administration's proposals on the structure of district organizations had yet to be finalized and approved by the Legislative Council, HAB would have to start consulting the various organizations and the community on the proposed changes.

18. Mr CHEUNG Wing-sum referred to the Consultation Report on the Review of District Organizations which appeared to have come to a conclusion based on a few submissions about the delivery of services relating to arts, culture, sports and recreation. He asked about the intended scope of consultation referred to by SHA. SHA and DS(HA)3 responded that details of the consultation arrangements would be finalized with the assistance of some major representative organizations in the field such as HKADC and HKSDB. For example, there were ten members on HKADC who were nominated by different arts interests and a number of National Sports Associations (NSAs) were affiliated to ASF&OC. HAB would also invite representatives of relevant bodies to attend open forums or individual meetings for discussion.

19. Mr CHEUNG considered that CAB's consultation in the areas of arts, culture, sport and recreation was not comprehensive at all. He requested HAB to undertake to consult the public and those relevant bodies listed as electors for the sports, performing arts, culture and publication functional constituency in the Legislative Council Ordinance. In response, SHA agreed to brief the Panel on Government's proposed consultation arrangements. In this connection, the Chairman advised that the subcommittee on long-term cultural policy which was formed under the Panel could follow up the matter.Adm

20. The Chairman thanked representatives of the Administration for briefing the Panel.

III.Sports development policy

Briefing by the Hong Kong Sports Development Board (HKSDB)

[Paper No. CB(2)383/98-99(01)]

21. At the invitation of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman of HKSDB briefly took members through their written submission. He informed members that the Government was the main source of funding for HKSDB. HKSDB had been able to gain recognition and support from major organizations for the furtherance of Hong Kong sports and had received sponsorship as much as $1 billion. He said that the main objectives of HKSDB were -

  1. to enhance public understanding about sports and encourage more people to participate in sports so that sports would become part of everybody's life;

  2. to organise sports programmes ranging from grassroot to elite training ; and

  3. to cooperate with and invite more partners to promote sports.

22. Vice-Chairman of HKSDB also highlighted the elite training programmes, and the need for more resources for longer term development of athletes including post-retirement plans. He also stressed the importance of venues and facilities for elite training.

23. On the five-year strategic plan of HKSDB, Miss Christine LOH asked whether HKSDB had encountered any difficulties in implementation due to resource or other constraints. Vice-Chairman of HKSDB responded that HKSDB's five-year strategic plan was drawn up on the basis of available resources, and its implementation would depend on resources (such as venues) and the co-operation of other main stakeholders who might have their own priorities. He pointed out that HKSDB's five-year strategic plan did not have the status of a Government policy document, and other key players who had their own plans might not be able to complement accordingly. He hoped the new administrative framework on sports could address HKSDB's concern about the lack of a co-ordinated approach, so that its five-year strategic plan could be implemented more effectively.

Briefing by the Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong

24. At the invitation of the Chairman, Secretary-General of the ASF&OC briefed members on the ASF&OC's mission on sports development. Members noted that the Amateur Sports Federation was founded in 1950 and was recognized as a National Olympic Committee by the International Olympic Committee in 1951. There were 71 sports organizations affiliated to the ASF&OC. The main objectives of the ASF&OC were to promote and represent the interests of sports in Hong Kong, foster co-operation among local sports organizations, press for better funding support and facilities for the practice of all sports, and select athletes to represent Hong Kong in the Olympics and other Regional and International Games. Through the efforts of ASF&OC, Hong Kong had been able to participate at sporting events of international level.

25. Secretary-General of ASF&OC then briefed members on the recent work of ASF&OC on sports development as follows -

  1. holding the annual Festival of Sport;

  2. organizing the Olympic Day Run with the Department of Health on 21 June 1998 to educate the public on the importance of sports to health;

  3. commencing the countdown on 30 August 1998 for the Asian Games; and

  4. organizing a two-year international sports and cultural exhibition on 19 September 1998.

Through its own savings, ASF&OC had also provided free sports education programmes for the youth and commenced the Incentive Awards Scheme for elite athletes who achieved good results in regional and international championships.

26. Secretary-General of ASF&OC stressed that all NSAs had been working harmoniously for the common good of sports in Hong Kong, and that all office-bearers of the ASF&OC were elected from amongst the NSAs to provide voluntary services. The value of the ASF&OC's work was clearly reflected by the achievements of Hong Kong athletes in Regional and International Games. A Vice-President of the ASF&OC added that ASF&OC had done its utmost to streamline its operation for the effective use of resources available. He hoped the new structure on sports would enable more resources to be allocated to benefit the NSAs. He also considered that ASF&OC should be represented and involved in the policy making process for sports development.

Briefing by Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting

[Paper No. CB(2)383/98-99(02)]

27. Mr Timothy FOK referred to his paper and highlighted that while HKSDB focused mainly on elite training, ASF&OC had emphasized its work at grassroot level. He said that sports development for the community was of primary importance in order to identify and nurture athletic talent. However, there had been insufficient resources for community sports development in Hong Kong due to historical reasons. Now that a new administrative structure on sports and culture was being considered by the Government, he hoped there would be a more balanced distribution of resources for the healthy development of sport. He also stressed the importance of devising a new sports structure for the management and maintenance of sports and recreational programmes and facilities after the abolition of the two municipal councils. Mr FOK also urged the Government to consult ASF&OC and its NSAs for their expert advice in the planning of sports venues.

Meeting with the Administration

[Paper Nos. CB(2)392/98-99(01), CB(2)392/98-99(02) and CB(2)397/98-99]

28. Members noted the information papers on sports development policy provided by the Urban Services Department, the Regional Services Department and the Home Affairs Bureau.

Government investment on sports

29. Responding to Miss Christine LOH's question about Government funding on sports, DS(HA)3 informed members that Government expenditure on recreation and sports had in the past been in the region of $2 billion - $3 billion each year. Vice-Chairman of HKSDB advised that the Government subvention to HKSDB for the current financial year was $193 million; and that HKSDB had allocated $1 million and $77 million to ASF&OC and NSAs respectively. A Vice-President of the ASF&OC commented that a large proportion of the allocation had been spent on administrative expenses, and NSAs were not sufficiently funded. She considered that there should be a central authority to ensure a more balanced and effective appropriation of government funds to sports development. In response to the Chairman, Vice-Chairman of HKSDB clarified that there had been some misunderstanding on HKSDB's current budget. While 45% of the annual Government subvention was to meet the management and administrative costs of HKSDB, only 18% of which was to cover staff costs. The remaining 27% was to be spent directly or indirectly on sports development, for example, coaching and technical support to athletes (16% ) and management and operation of training facilities (11%). At the request of the Chairman, he undertook to provide a breakdown of the administrative costs to members after the meeting.

(Post-meeting note : The information paper from HKSDB was issued to members under LC Paper No. CB(2)539/98-99.)

30. Miss Christine LOH asked about the reason of under-achievement in sports development despite the large amount of Government expenditure in this area. A Vice-President of the ASF&OC pointed out that the Government expenditure of $2-3 billion included expenditure on all recreational facilities in Hong Kong and therefore the actual allocation to sports development should be much smaller. The problem faced by most organisations was largely due to the lack of a central coordinating body to decide on the priorities of resources. DS(HA)3 noted the concerns over fragmentation/overlapping of responsibilities and the uneven distribution of resources under the present structure on sport and recreation. However, a centralized agency for the delivery of sports and recreation services might not be the most suitable solution . DS(HA)3 considered that better cost effectiveness could be achieved if the roles and responsibilities of different key players in the sports community were well-defined after the review of district organizations. Mr Andrew WONG disagreed that abolition of the two municipal councils would be the only option to address the problems of sports development. He remarked that it would be more important to have an overall policy for sports development and a dedicated agency to manage sports and recreational programmes and facilities.

31. In view of the fact that the Administration was reviewing the structure for the delivery of sports and recreation services, Mr MA Fung-kwok urged the Administration to provide further information on the Administration's plan and its future investment in sports and recreation as well as the rationale behind such plans. Miss Christine LOH also sought confirmation from the Administration as to whether the Government's current investment in sports and recreation services would continue in future. DS(HA)3 stressed that the review on sports and recreation was not a cost-cutting exercise. It mainly aimed at achieving a better deployment of resources in the long run with input from the sports community. In this connection, the Chairman asked the Administration to provide a breakdown of the annual Government subvention to sports associations and other recreational or related activities, as well as the Government's future provisions for sports and recreation. DS(HA)3 agreed to provide the information.Adm

Future direction of sports development

32. Mr MA Fung-kwok sought the deputations' advice as to how the Government investment for future sports development could be best utilized in terms of spending on elite training and "grassroot" training. Vice-Chairman of HKSDB said that it was a very complex issue which required detailed study. However, the 5-Year Strategic Plan of the HKSDB had shed light on the way forward for sports development. He also took the opportunity to clarify that HKSDB's work was not limited to elite training. It was the HKSDB's policy to encourage the community to participate in sports in order to nurture athletes talents.

33. Miss Christine LOH asked about the Administration's current thinking on the development of the new administrative framework for the delivery of sports services. In response, DS(HA)3 reiterated that the Administration was aware of the concerns expressed by the sports community over the problems of overlapping responsibilities and allocation of resources. To address these concerns, the Administration had started to consult interested parties and the public on the new institutional framework for sports development which would -

  1. strengthen both professional and community input;

  2. ensure effective use of resources; and

  3. facilitate the effective formulation and implementation of policies and programmes in the sports field.

DS(HA)3 assured members that the Administration would actively solicit views of the sports community and concerned parties including HKSDB as well as ASF&OC and its affiliated NSAs.

34. Mr CHEUNG Wing-sum informed members that the Provisional Urban Council also had a 5-Year Plan similar to HKSDB. The two bodies had been in regular liaison on the use of resources and future direction to achieve a coherent "sports continuum" from recreation to excellence. He commented that the review of district organizations had provided a good opportunity for the Administration to review the structure and the allocation of resources for sports development. In order to devise a new structure for allocating resources and setting objectives, a mechanism should be put in place for the Legislative Council to have a full picture of the recreation and sports development in Hong Kong and to have maximum input in the consultation and discussion process. Mr CHEUNG urged the Administration to set out a timetable for devising a feasible structure on sports, and to adopt a fair and systematic approach to ensure participation of the public and all key players in the sports community in the consultation process. The Chairman asked the Administration to take note of members' concern and brief the Panel on its future plan and timetable as soon as possible.Adm

35. The meeting ended at 6:45 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
25 November 1998