Legislative Council

LC Paper No. CB(2)2923/98-99
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)

Ref : CB2/PL/HA

LegCo Panel on Home Affairs

Minutes of special meeting
held on Thursday, 27 May 1999 at 4:30 pm
in the Chamber of the Legislative Council Building

Members Present :

Hon CHOY So-yuk (Chairman)
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Hon Jasper TSANG Yok-sing, JP
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon LAW Chi-kwong, JP

Members Absent :

Hon Albert HO Chun-yan (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon MA Fung-kwok
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon Christine LOH
Hon Andrew WONG Wang-fat, JP
Hon LAU Wong-fat, GBS, JP
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JP

Members Attending :

Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP

Public Officers Attending :

Item I

Acting Secretary for Home Affairs

Mr John WAN
Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs (1)

Deputy Director of Architectural Services

Chief Project Manager

Item II

Mr Arthur NG
Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs 3

Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs 5

Attendance by Invitation :

Item I

Alliance of HK Youth Groups

Mr CHAN Tak-ming
Secretary General

Mr CHAN Yun-kan

Miss WONG Pik-kiu

Hong Kong Youth Development Council

Mr Dick WONG
Vice Chairman

Mr TSUI Fook-keung

Hong Kong Junior Chamber

Ms Louise CHAN
National President

Mr Frank PAK
National Vice-President

Ms Phyllis CHAN
National Vice-President

Item II

Provisional Urban Council
Mr Ronnie WONG Man-chiu, JP
Ms Christina TING Yuk-chee, JP
Ms CHOW Kit-bing, MH

Provisional Regional Council
Ms CHAN Shu-ying
Mr WONG Sing-chi
Ms CHEUNG Yuet-lan

Hong Kong Basketball Association

Mr LEUNG Wai-man, Raymond
Development Director

Mr HO Wai-hing, Samuel
Senior Sports Executive

Clerk in Attendance :

Mrs Constance LI
Chief Assistant Secretary (2) 2

Staff in Attendance :

Miss Flora TAI
Senior Assistant Secretary (2) 2

I. Proposed Centre for Youth Development

The Chairman informed members that the proposal on the partial upgrading of the proposed Centre for Youth Development to Category A of the Public Works Programme and the consultants' fees was discussed at the Public Works Subcommittee (PWSC) meeting on 14 April 1999. Members at the PWSC meeting were of the view that the Administration should brief the Panel on Home Affairs before the funding proposal could be further considered. The Chairman further informed members that the Administration intended to re-submit the proposal to PWSC on 16 June 1999 after discussion by the Panel.

Meeting with deputations

2. The Chairman welcomed representatives of the deputations and the Administration for attending the meeting. Members noted that four written submissions had been received from youth organizations, and that the Hong Kong Council of Social Services [Paper No. CB(2)2102/98-99(02)] had not nominated any representative to attend the meeting.

The Alliance of Hong Kong Youth Groups
[Paper No. CB(2)2017/98-99]

3. At the invitation of the Chairman, representatives of the Alliance briefed members on the written submission. Secretary General of the Alliance highlighted the objectives and strategies for youth development of Hong Kong. Members noted that the Alliance supported the proposal to construct the Centre for Youth Development in Chai Wan which would act as a focal point for organization of youth development activities. Although the representatives were concerned about the proposed location which might be too far away for young people living in the New Territories and Kowloon, they considered it more important to have a youth centre of international standard. The representatives recommended that the Centre be managed by a statutory body comprising representatives from Government and Non-Government organizations. They also urged Government to provide similar youth development centres in the New Territories and Kowloon.

The Hong Kong Youth Development Council
[Paper No. CB(2)2102/98-99(01)]

4. At the invitation of the Chairman, Vice-Chairman of the Council briefed members on the written submission. He said that the Council had collated views from youth organizations and other concerned organizations on the Chief Executive's 1998 Policy Objectives for youth development, and had produced a report in this respect. Members noted that the Council accepted the proposed location although it was not ideal, for fear that the construction of the Centre would be further delayed if a new site was to be identified. On the design of the proposed Centre, Vice-Chairman of the Council considered that the Centre must have a modern appearance of the 21st century and that resources be maximized for promoting creativity of the young people. He urged for early construction of the Centre and requested the Administration to report progress regularly to the public and youth organizations.

The Hong Kong Junior Chamber
[Paper No. CB(2)2140/98-99(01)]

5. At the invitation of the Chairman, National President of the Chamber briefed members on the written submission which was tabled at the meeting. The Chamber supported the construction of the proposed Centre although Chai Wan was not an ideal location. She hoped the proposal could be implemented at early as possible, and she asked the Administration to provide information on the project progress to facilitate monitoring by youth organizations.

Meeting with the Administration
[Paper No. CB(2)2021/98-99]

6. Members noted the Administration's paper on the proposed Centre. Acting Secretary for Home Affairs (Ag SHA) informed members that the Steering Committee of the project had conducted a large scale consultation to collect views from different youth groups, and 21 written submissions were received which in general indicated support of the project. In response to comments made by the deputations, Ag SHA made the following points -

  1. the proposed Centre for Youth Development in Chai Wan was the first centre of its kind, and the Administration had not precluded the possibility of providing similar centres in other areas in the future if the need was justified;

  2. it was the intention that the proposed Centre would be self-financing; its operation and management model would require further detailed discussion and consultation with concerned organizations;

  3. the Administration would report progress of the project to the Panel and concerned organizations; and

  4. the proposed Centre was conveniently located near the Chai Wan MTR station and it was difficult to find another suitable site of such a large area near any MTR station.

7. Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs (PAS(HA)) elaborated on the concept of the proposed Centre for Youth Development. He said that the Chief Executive had tasked the Commission on Youth (CoY) to conduct a study on how the young people of Hong Kong could take up a more active role in building Hong Kong and in voluntary work. The Administration had subsequently accepted the findings of CoY. The direction of youth development was mapped out in the Chief Executive's 1998 Policy Address. In essence, the Administration would work with CoY and other youth groups in organizing youth development programmes to promote positive values among young people; to provide programmes on leadership and life skills including exchange programmes with other countries; to create opportunities for voluntary work; and to deepen their understanding of our culture and heritage. The proposed Centre would provide centralized facilities and serve as a focal point for these youth development activities. PAS(HA) assured members that the proposed Centre would have a modern design with high-technology facilities for youth development programmes.

8. Discussion of the subject between members and the Administration is summarized in paragraphs 9-18.

Objectives of the proposed Centre

9. Mrs Sophie LEUNG inquired how the proposed Centre could contribute to achieving the four objectives described by PAS(HA) in paragraph 7. She considered that plans for youth development should be proposed and led by young people themselves. In this connection, Mrs LEUNG noted that existing youth groups had already organized many activities for young people, even though they did not have a designated building for such activities. Ag SHA responded that the Centre would provide the hardware (i.e. the venue and facilities) for organizing youth development programmes. He stressed that the proposed Centre was part of the long-term plan to provide development opportunities for young people to realize their potentials. In this regard, Mr Ambrose CHEUNG indicated support of the project, and he considered it essential to have the venue and facilities in the first place for achieving the objectives of youth development.

10. Mr Eric LI who was Chairman of CoY and member of the Steering Committee shared his experience in youth work with the Panel members. He informed the Panel that youth service providers shared a common concern about the lack of affordable facilities for youth development activities. Mr LI said that the major organizers for youth activities, i.e. schools and youth centres, were often constrained by the lack of resources and venues for providing youth development services. These organizations often had to hire commercial venues and facilities for organizing territory-wide activities or youth exchange programmes with other countries. However, they could not afford to pay the high rental due to limited financial resources, especially if there were no government subsidies for the programmes. Mr Eric LI emphasized that the proposed Centre aimed at providing modern and affordable facilities which were much needed but not available at present for organizing various youth development programmes.

Location of the proposed Centre

11. Mr Edward HO said that while he supported in principle the proposal to build a Centre for Youth Development, he noted that the deputations had expressed reservations about the location of the Centre which might not be convenient to many users. Mr HO expressed concern that the deputations accepted the proposal only for fear of delaying the construction of the Centre given the current shortage of suitable sites in other areas. He was therefore worried that the project which cost $850 million might be under-utilized due to its inconvenient location. Ag SHA responded that the site was conveniently located near Chai Wan MTR station. He explained that the Administration was unable to identify other suitable site in the vicinity of any MTR station large enough for the project. While there might be some other suitable sites under planning, they would not be available until after year 2006. Ag SHA reiterated that the proposed site was the most suitable one available at present. As the proposed Centre was situated near the MR station, it would be easily accessible to young people in any part of the territory. For example, it was very convenient and easy for young people in East Kowloon to reach the Centre by MTR.

Provision of a youth hostel in the Centre

12. Mrs Sophie LEUNG queried whether it was necessary to provide a youth hostel at the proposed Centre in view of the abundant supply of youth hostels over the territory. As far as she was aware, many of these youth hostels, some of them located in the New Territories and popular among young visitors from overseas, were available at reasonable rentals. Moreover, the student dormitories of universities and the classrooms for extra-mural courses would be available for youth activities during summer vacation. To avoid possible duplication of resources for the provision of youth hostels, Mrs LEUNG requested the Administration to obtain more information on the availability and utilization of the existing residential facilities for young visitors, before taking a decision in this respect. Admin

13. Referring to Mrs LEUNG's comments, Mr Eric LI explained that some existing youth hostels, such as YMCA hostels, were operated on commercial principle. Many non-subvented youth groups could not afford to pay full rental for using these residential facilities. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG also pointed out that there were only limited supply of hostel rooms within the lower price range. He therefore supported the proposal of providing low-cost residential facilities in the Centre, in addition to university hostels which could also be utilized for youth activities during summer.

Facilities in the Centre

14. With regard to the facilities in the proposed Centre, Mr Eric LI who also chaired the Facility Allocation Working Group of the project informed members that modern, high-technology facilities would be available for science and technology training, multi-media workshops, video conferencing and even youth shops. In addition, low-cost accommodation would also be provided for international youth exchange and leadership training programmes. Mr Eric LI stressed that there had been wide consultation among youth groups which had consensus over the provision of the facilities and support for stimulating and enhancing creativity in young people. Mr Eric LI appealed to members for their support of the project so that construction work could commence. He assured the Panel that the Steering Committee would further consult youth groups and service providers on the detailed design of the Centre.

15. Concerning the design of the Centre, Deputy Director of Architectural Services (DD(ArchS)) advised that both the hardware and software must be compatible. It was therefore necessary for concerned parties to agree on the future facilities in the Centre as early as possible to facilitate the detailed design. Mr Eric LI said that the Steering Committee had provided input to the design of facilities in the Centre and would further discuss with the Architectural Services Department on the details.

Management of the Centre

16. Regarding the management of the Centre, Ag SHA informed members that the Steering Committee was examining the detailed operational arrangements for the proposed Centre and would consult relevant bodies in due course. He clarified that in considering that the Centre would be self-financing, only the recurrent expenditure (excluding capital costs) would be taken into account in calculating the operating costs. In this connection, Mr Eric LI added that since the capital costs would be borne by Government, the proposed Centre would be able to provide low-cost facilities and services for youth groups. He said that the Steering Committee had confidence that the Centre would be financially viable.

Estimated costs for the consultancy services

17. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG noted that the $81.85 million consultancy fees represented about 9% of the total capital cost of the project. He asked whether the provision for consultancy fees was reasonable, since Architectural Services Department normally charged about 16% of the total project cost for consultancy services. DD(ArchS) clarified that the estimated consultancy fees had not included temporary reprovisioning costs and hire of site staff, the addition of which would increase the percentage to over 13% of the estimated capital cost. Mr CHEUNG suggested that detailed information on the calculation of consultancy fees should be provided in the PWSC paper. Admin

Reprovisioning of the existing Chai Wan Community Centre

18. The Chairman noted that the utilization rate of the existing Chai Wan Community Centre was rather high. She therefore asked about the plans for reprovisioning the facilities in the existing centre following its demolition. Ag SHA responded that all existing services and facilities in Chai Wan Community Centre including the group work unit, day nursery and the community hall would be reprovisioned in the proposed Centre.

II. Consultancy Study on Culture, the Arts, Recreation and Sports Services

19. The Chairman informed members that the Panel had received a total of 16 written submissions up to 25 May 1999 and discussed with eight deputations at a special meeting on 18 May 1999. To avoid clashes with a series of special House Committee meetings in May 1998, the second special meeting of the Panel on Home Affairs to meet other deputations had been re-scheduled to 27 May 1999.

20. At this juncture, Mr Ambrose CHEUNG drew the Chairman's attention to the fact that a quorum was not present. The Chairman therefore directed members be summoned to the meeting. As a quorum was still not present, the Chairman declared that subsequent discussion of the Panel with deputations and the Administration would be an informal meeting.

21. The Chairman welcomed members of the Provisional Urban Council (PUC) and the Provisional Regional Council (PRC), and representatives of the Hong Kong Basketball Association and the Administration for attending the discussion.

Meeting with Members of the Provisional Urban Council
[Paper No. CB(2)1991/98-99]

22. At the invitation of the Chairman, Ms CHOW Kit-bing briefed members on the detailed submission of PUC. She stressed that it was PUC's position that the "one council, one department" proposal was the best option for the reorganization of municipal services. She said that PUC's views on the Consultant's Report on Culture, the Arts, Recreation and Sport Services (the Consultant's Report) were formulated on the basis of public views collected at open forums held by PUC in April-May 1999 and detailed discussion by its Select Committees. In view of the public comments received by PUC, Ms CHOW suggested that Government should conduct another round of public consultation on the Consultant's Report and the "one council, one department" proposal.

Culture and arts services

23. Ms CHOW Kit-bing said that the PUC was extremely disappointed that the Consultant's Report only aimed at centralizing powers in the hands of Government, without putting forward an overall strategy with vision to develop culture and the arts or to streamline the existing structure. It was regrettable that the Consultant's Report had not acknowledged the contribution of PUC to the development of culture and the arts which was well-recognized by the public. Ms CHOW also made the following points -

  1. Government should not only focus on cost-effectiveness or promotion of tourism when formulating a strategy for long-term development of the arts and culture;

  2. the policy-making powers for culture and arts policies should be vested in an elected council rather than advisory bodies appointed by Government;

  3. provision of arts and cultural services should not be based solely on market or commercial principles as these would hamper the development of creativity and growth of small cultural bodies; and

  4. PUC's proposal of setting up five District Committees with decision-making powers under the "one council, one department" structure would be a better option to enhance district participation in cultural activities.

Recreation and sports services

24. Mr WONG Man-chui informed members that PUC had held an open forum on 28 April 1999 during which over 40 participants from 24 bodies gave their views on the Consultant's Report in respect of recreation and sports services. He said that the following views had been expressed at the open forum -

  1. full-time executives of the National Sports Associations (NSAs) should be represented in the Hong Kong Sports Development Board (HKSDB);

  2. there should be a clear delineation of responsibilities under the new structure - HKSDB should continue to concentrate on elite training for sports development while Government should be responsible for developing community sports and management of venues and facilities;

  3. there was concern that future construction projects for sports venues and facilities might be accorded lower priority when competing with other government public works projects; and

  4. the Consultant's Report had not put forward recommendation on which party should be responsible for promoting sports in schools; as a result, schools would still have inadequate resources and access to sports facilities.

Entertainment and leisure programmes

25. Referring to the recommendations in paragraph 8.01 of the Consultant's Report on enhancing the role of District Boards, Ms TING Yuk-chee informed members that the Urban Council had since 1992/93 co-operated with District Boards to implement the Urban District Subsidy Scheme for Cultural and Entertainment Activities. The subsidies by PUC would amount to $3.38 million in 1999/2000, and allocations would be made through District Offices in consultation with the respective Provisional District Boards. Ms TING also pointed out that the Consultant had over-estimated the average subsidy level of large-scale public entertainment programmes in paragraph 10.02 of the Report. As far as PUC was concerned, the average subsidy level for these programmes was in the range of $11.3 - $32 per participant.

26. Ms TING Yuk-chee said that PUC disagreed with the Consultant's recommendation in paragraph 10.04 that small-scale free outdoor entertainments should discontinue because the proposal would deprive grass-root people of the opportunity to enjoy free entertainment. She informed members that PUC had organized over 220 small-scale free outdoor and indoor entertainments each year for the enjoyment of local communities. At the PUC open forum held on 7 May 1999, participants had expressed strong objection to the Consultant's recommendation to discontinue free entertainment programmes.

Meeting with Members of the Provisional Regional Council
[Paper Nos CB(2)1730/98-99, CB(2)2140/98-99(02), CB(2)2140/98-99(03) & CB(2)2140/98-99(04)]

27. Ms CHEUNG Yuet-lan informed members that the PRC had passed a motion to support the "one council, one department" proposal. She said that the independent opinion survey on municipal services conducted by PRC in early 1999 [Paper No. CB(2)1730/98-99] indicated that -

  1. about 85% of the respondents had agreed that an elected council should be responsible for monitoring the provision of municipal services and formulation of relevant policies; and

  2. about 75% supported the "one council, one department" proposal.

    With regard to the proposed structure for the provision of municipal services, Ms CHEUNG stressed that it should provide for streamlining of structure and accountability to the public.

28. Ms CHEUNG Yuet-lan continued to say that the two municipal councils had a long history in providing municipal services and their performance was highly regarded by the general public as indicated in the opinion surveys conducted by the municipal councils over the years. She therefore questioned the basis of the Consultant's recommendation to replace the two municipal councils by government bureaux and departments. In this connection, she referred to Paper No. CB(2)2140/98-99(03) which was tabled at the meeting and highlighted the three overall comments on the Consultant's Report at the open forum held on 21 May 1999.

29. Ms CHEUNG Yuet-lan also drew members' attention to the recent users' opinion survey on the facilities and services provided by PRC's civic centres [Paper No. CB(2)2140/98-99(04) which was tabled at the meeting]. Ms CHAN Shu-ying added that the Consultancy Report failed to address the fundamental problem of overlapping of responsibilities in the existing culture and sports structure. She was of the opinion that the Report did not provide a well-formulated strategy for the development of recreation and sports; for example, Government would still have little commitment to developing elite sports which would remain to be the responsibility of HKSDB. Ms CHAN considered that municipal services should best be provided by an elected council. She envisaged a lot of problems if the venues and facilities were centrally controlled by Government, and that smaller organizations might be in a disadvantageous position in accessing the facilities. She was also concerned that Government might not allocate sufficient resources for the future provision of recreation and sports facilities in line with the increase in population at district level. She said it was also doubtful that government departments would play a better coordinating role in the distribution of sports venues among the NSAs.

30. On the Consultant's proposed arrangement for Music Office, Mr WONG Sing-chi briefed members on the position of the Joint Provisional Municipal Councils Management Committee on Music Office [Paper No. CB(2)2140/98-99(02)]. Given the current role of the Academy for Performing Arts (APA), he was doubtful that it had the capacity to take up the task of promoting music education in the community. He stressed that since the two municipal councils had taken over the administration of Music Office in 1995, its performance had greatly improved. Mr WONG criticized Government for the lack of commitment to the work of Music Office, as Government only aimed at abolishing the municipal councils without regard to the interest and development of Music Office. He was disappointed that the Report had not provided any detailed, concrete plans on the future development of Music Office. He considered that Music Office should best be placed within the government framework and that Government should undertake to maintain the existing level of services provided by Music Office.

Meeting with the Hong Kong Basketball Association (the Association)
[Paper No. CB(2)2102/98-99(03)]

31. At the invitation of the Chairman, Senior Sports Executive of the Association briefed members on the written submission. Development Director of the Association supplemented that it was important for NSAs to have designated training venues to cater for their needs in the development of sports. He suggested that NSAs could be held responsible for the management of designated training venues while Government would be responsible for the maintenance and repair of the venues. In response to Dr TANG Siu-tong's enquiry concerning the relationship between NSAs and district sports associations, Senior Sports Executive of the Association explained that NSAs should assume overall coordination because of their expertise in coach training and sports rules. He envisaged that district sports associations would be allocated more resources given the enhanced role of District Councils in the organization of cultural and sports activities in districts. He considered that NSAs and district sports associations would work as partners in promoting sports at district level and better co-ordination between them would be beneficial to promoting sports development.

Hon CHOY So-yuk's proposal on the recreation and sports structure
[Paper No. CB(2)2031/98-99]

32. The Chairman briefed members on her proposal on the recreation and sports structure. The Chairman proposed that the Government should be responsible for deciding the broad direction and formulating policies for the development of recreation and sports, as well as assuming overall control of resources for this purpose. She suggested that responsibilities relating to elite sports, community sports and recreation should be transferred to the future Sports Development Council, the Sports Federation and Olympics Committee/ NSAs, District Boards and local organizations respectively under the overall supervision of a Sports and Recreation Commission. The proposed Sports and Recreation Commission, which would be responsible for allocation of funds to individual bodies, would have its members drawn from a wide sector of elected members, professionals and members of various sports bodies. As regards the use of sports venues, she proposed that while Government would manage the sports venues, NSAs would have priority in the use of these venues and facilities.

Discussion with the Administration

33. Mr CHENG Kai-nam expressed disappointment that the Consultant's Report had only provided an institutional framework without giving a vision or philosophy for the overall development of culture and sports. He queried how the Consultant could devise a new structure without formulating an overall policy. He also considered that the Administration must make a distinction between the policies for provision of recreational facilities and elite training, while the former only required the provision of venues and facilities, systematic planning would be necessary for the latter. Referring to these comments, Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs 3 responded that the Consultant's Report and the Administration's Initial Responses to the Consultancy Report did identify a number of deficiencies in the current culture and sports structure and make forward-looking recommendations to address the problems. For example, the proposed Culture and Heritage Commission would advise Government on the macro policy for the future development of culture and the arts. He noted Mr CHENG's comment about the distinction between provision of recreational facilities and elite training and said that the Administration would devise a strategy under the new structure in due course. Deputy Secretary for Home Affairs 5 (DS(HA)5) supplemented that the Consultant's Report was only the first step in the process to review the culture and sports structure. The Task Force headed by himself would give detailed examination on how to implement the Consultant's recommendations with regard to concerns raised by members and relevant organizations.

34. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG maintained the view that the Administration must formulate policies in culture, the arts, recreation and sports before there could be fruitful discussion of the structure. DS(HA)5 said that he noted members' concerns about the policies which would be formulated after the new structure for culture and sports was put in place, in consultation with the relevant parties.

35. In response to Dr TANG Siu-tong's enquiry about the transfer of the Music Office to the Academy for Performing Arts, DS(HA)5 said that the Consultant had given careful consideration to the issues and concerns raised by different parties, and the rationale of the recommendation was set out in paragraph 3.10 of the Consultant's Report. The Administration had noted the concerns expressed by various parties including the Music Office Parents Association and APA, and would further consult the stakeholders before finalizing the implementation plan.

36. Dr TANG Siu-tong also expressed concern that district sport organizations, especially those in new towns, might not be able to compete with other government departments for resources to provide recreation and sports facilities. DS(HA)5 noted his concern and undertook to provide detailed responses, at the next Panel meeting, to the various concerns raised.

37. In view of the criticisms on the Consultant's Report, the Chairman asked whether the Administration would be prepared to review its position on the Consultant's recommendations. DS(HA)5 responded that the Administration's Initial Response would be taken as a starting point for further consideration and the Task Force would definitely take into account all views expressed by members and the community in implementation.

III. Way forward

38. Mr Ambrose CHEUNG was strongly of the view that as the Consultant's Report did not provide an overall policy or philosophy for future development of culture and sports, the Panel should discuss the policy before giving further consideration to the new structure. The Chairman advised that the Administration would give a detailed response to the views of members and deputations at the Panel meeting to be held on 14 June 1999, and that the Consultant had also been invited to attend. She suggested that the Panel could consider the way forward afterwards.

39. There being no other business, the meeting ended at 7:05pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat
23 August 1999