Establishment Subcommittee

Minutes of the proceedings of the meeting held on
17 May 1996 at 2:30 p.m. in the Legislative Council Chamber

Members Present :

    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Dr Hon Anthony CHEUNG Bing-leung (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon SZETO Wah
    Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, OBE, JP
    Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
    Hon Michael HO Mun-ka
    Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing
    Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
    Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, OBE, JP
    Hon CHAN Wing-chan
    Hon CHENG Yiu-tong
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon Bruce LIU Sing-lee
    Hon Margaret NG
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing
    Hon Mrs Elizabeth WONG CHIEN Chi-lien, CBE, ISO, JP

Members Attending:

    Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
    Hon Christine LOH Kung-wai
    Hon CHAN Yuen-han
    Hon LEUNG Yiu-chung

Members Absent :

    Hon Allen LEE Peng-fei, CBE, JP
    Dr Hon David LI Kwok-po, OBE, LLD, JP
    Dr Hon Edward LEONG Che-hung, OBE, JP
    Dr Hon HUANG Chen-ya, MBE
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, MBE, FEng, JP
    Dr Hon Philip WONG Yu-hong
    Hon CHAN Kam-lam
    Hon Ambrose LAU Hon-chuen, JP
    Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok
    Hon LO Suk-ching

Public Officers Attending :

Mr Stanley WONG Principal Assistant Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands
Mr Allan HAY Government Land Agent, Lands Department
Mr Vincent FUNG Principal Assistant Secretary for Economic Services
Mr Albert LAM Deputy Director of Civil Aviation
Mr James HUI Air Traffic General Manager, Civil Aviation Department
Mr John COLLIER, JP Deputy Secretary for Works
Dr A W MALONE, JP Principal Government Geotechnical Engineer, Civil Engineering Department
Mr Stephen POON, JP Senior Assistant Director of Housing
Mrs Doris MA Assistant Director of Housing

In Attendance:

Mr Kevin HO, JP Deputy Secretary for the Treasury
Mr Mike STONE, JP Deputy Secretary for the Civil Service
Miss Pauline NG Assistant Secretary General
Mrs Constance LI Clerk to the Establishment Subcommittee
Mr Andy LAU Senior Assistant Secretary (Finance Committee)


Proposed creation of a supernumerary post of Government Land Agent (D2) for three years with effect from 10 June 1996 in the Lands Department to head a multi-disciplinary Task Force to tackle the land use environmental problems in the New Territories

A member expressed concern about the slow progress in the clearance of black spots in the New Territories (NT), and asked what concrete measures would be taken by the Administration to eradicate the problem. In response, the Government Land Agent (GLA) briefed members on the progress made by the Task Force responsible for clearing the black spots in the NT. He stressed that since the majority was ‘existing uses’ undertakings permissible under the lease and tolerated under the Town Planning Ordinance, and that these undertakings played an important economic role, the Government’s strategy was to enlist the owners’ cooperation before taking lease enforcement action. The operators were given opportunities to regularise the unauthorised structures in return for in-situ improvements such as noise reduction and traffic arrangements. In addition, the Task Force also sought permission from the Town Planning Board to carry out major improvement works on these undertakings. Good progress had been made in two pilot projects involving the Pat Heung Pilot Action Area (26 hectares) and the Ha Tsuen/Lau Fau Shan Container Action Area (34 hectares), and planning also started on the North District East Action Area and eight container depot areas in Tuen Mun.

2. As regards the need to legislate controls, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (PAS/PEL) advised that since the Task Force had been in operation for only two years and was achieving reasonable progress, the Government would wish to push for further improvements through the existing approach before considering more drastic and controversial alternatives such as legislation, re-zoning, voluntary surrender of land or resumption of land. In this respect, the Government would have to balance the economic and environmental considerations, and it would be a time-consuming and difficult process to achieve the desired results. GLA added that enforcement action was being taken by the Planning Department to clear up “unauthorised developments”.

3. A member questioned the rationale for creating a supernumerary post to formulate plans and co-ordinate activities on this apparently long standing problem. In response, PAS/PEL explained that the Government had yet to finalise the latter part of the ten-year programme to clean up environmental black spots in NT. A supernumerary GLA post was required at this stage to provide the necessary directorate support to finalise the programme, to steer implementation and to monitor progress. The longer term staffing requirements would be reviewed in the light of the scale and complexity of the measures of the finalised programme.

4. In view of members’ concern about the progress of the cleaning up exercise, the Chairman advised that the subject should be followed up at the LegCo Panel on Planning, Lands and Works.

5. The item was voted on and endorsed.


Proposed creation of a permanent post of Chief Air Traffic Control Officer (D1) in the Civil Aviation Department with effect from 1 June 1996 to cope with the increasing workload and responsibilities arising from the development of the new airport at Chek Lap Kok

6. On the justification of the present proposal, the Deputy Director of Civil Aviation (DD/CA) outlined the increase of workload and responsibilities of the Air Traffic Management Division. He advised that the directorate establishment of the department had not been increased since 1980 despite the significant increase in the volume and complexity of work. With the development of the new airport in Chek Lap Kok, the department could no longer absorb the added responsibilities arising from the review and re-design of the flight procedures and the operation of the new air traffic control equipment to be installed at the new airport. An additional D1 post was therefore required.

7. On the measures to cope with the increase in air traffic volume at Kai Tak Airport, DD/CA and the Principal Assistant Secretary for Economic Services assured members that the proposal to increase the number of flights from 29 to 31 aircraft movements per hour would only take place during the non-noise sensitive hours and should not affect the residents nearby. To cope with the increased work, additional manpower would be required for which recruitment of Air Traffic Control Officers and Air Traffic Flight Services Officers was underway.

8. In reply to a member, DD/CA advised that the Civil Aviation Department had completed its re-structuring to prepare for the operation of the new airport. All staff of the department would remain as civil servants except for those in the Airport Management Division who would transfer to the Airport Authority upon abolition of the existing office.

9. The item was voted on and endorsed.


Proposed creation of a permanent post of Chief Geotechnical Engineer (D1) in the Civil Engineering Department to head a new Landslip Investigation Division

10. Noting that three separate annual consultancy contract from 1996 to 1999 would be awarded to develop and implement an improved process for assessing slope stability, a member enquired if the present proposal would facilitate technology transfer and obviate the need for further engagement of consultants.

11. In reply, the Principal Government Geotechnical Engineer (PGGE) advised that the present proposal did not involve the question of technology transfer as the department had the necessary expertise to undertake the consultancy work. Consultants were engaged because there were insufficient in-house resources to take up the development of the Integrated Approach recommended by Professor N R Morgenstern. Depending on the availability of resources, he could not rule out the possibility of renewing the consultancy contract three years later.

12. On the justification for an additional D1 post, PGGE advised that an officer of high level of competence and managerial skill would be required to steer the development and implementation of the new Integrated Approach, and to monitor the work and performance of the consultants. As regards the supporting staff, two Senior Geotechnical Engineers would be deployed from the Landslip Preventive Projects Group to form a new section under the proposed D1 post.

13. Responding to a member’s concern about the achievements made by the department in tackling landslides, PGGE advised that some 200 - 800 landslides were recorded in Hong Kong each year and the Government’s slope safety system was now able to reduce the number of occurrence, and the vulnerability of the population in the vicinity in the case of landslide. While it would be difficult to quantify the benefits of the Government’s slope safety system, he undertook to provide further information on the effectiveness of the measures implemented.


14. This item was voted on and endorsed.


Proposed creation of a permanent post of Chief Architect (D1) in the Housing Department to head the Standards Section and to take over part of the responsibilities of the Architectural Division

15. Members expressed concern about the quality of the Private Sector Participation Scheme (PSPS) projects and asked whether the creation of the post would enhance the quality of these projects. In response, the Senior Assistant Director of Housing (SAD/H) advised that the department was taking step not only to speed up the pace of housing production but also to tighten up the measures on quality control for PSPS projects. For example, the department had included in the tender specifications a warranty period for certain items of work like water proofing and finishes. In this respect, he agreed to provide details of these items for which special warranties had been introduced.


16. On the justification of the post, SAD/H advised that the planning and design work to increase the annual production of flats from 35,000 to 80,000 flats in 1999/2000 was now in full swing. The Administration had by now let out 50 projects to consultant architects, with another 40 in the pipeline. The present establishment of the Architectural Division was no longer adequate to cope with the increase in workload. As a result, there was a pressing need to create an additional Chief Architect post to take up the consultancy management duties as well as overseeing the implementation of quality improvements to PSPS projects.

17. This item was voted on and endorsed.

18. The Committee was adjourned at 3:30 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
6 June 1996

Last Updated on 27 November 1998