The 1999 Policy Address

Quality People
Quality Home

Positioning Hong Kong for the 21st Century

The following are some of the key points of the Policy Address delivered today (6 October) by the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, The Honourable Mr TUNG Chee Hwa.
Looking Back on the Past Two Years
The "One Country, Two Systems" concept has been successfully implemented. Basic freedoms and way of life have been maintained.
Following the Asian financial crisis and our financial reforms, Hong Kong has consolidated its position as an international financial centre.
Government has reduced taxes, rates and various fees and charges totalling over $40 billion.
10 000 public rental flats and 3 500 subsidised residential care places have been provided for the elderly.
73 000 families provided with low-cost public rental housing. Waiting time reduced from seven to six years and will be reduced to three years by 2005-2006.
Special Finance Scheme for Small and Medium Enterprises has helped over 5 000 enterprises.
Job Vacancy Centre has helped more than 4 000 people a month to find work. 70 000 people retrained last year with 70% re-employed. Youth Pre-employment Training Programme launched to help young people.
Infrastructural projects will create an estimated 46 000 jobs in the next 15 months.
People have begun to recognise the importance of promoting innovation and technology rather than relying on asset inflation to drive economic growth.
Clear Positioning
Hong Kong will become a world-class city, the New York and London of Asia, if we consolidate and continue to build on our strengths.
Strengthen ties with the Mainland and joint development of the Pearl River Delta Region.
Cultivating Talents for a Knowledge-based Society
Hong Kong must adopt "life-long learning" and become an innovative and knowledge-based society. We should aim at all-round development of our children.
Advance by two years to September 2002, the requirement that all new kindergarten principals complete the Certificate of Kindergarten Education course.
Percentage of primary students enjoying whole-day schooling has risen from 19% in 1997 to 32% this year, and will reach 60% by September 2002.
University Grants Committee to provide $120 million over five years to develop areas of excellence in information technology, biotechnology, and economics and business strategy.
Starting from next year, language teachers must attain objective bench-marks to teach in the relevant languages.
Devote more resources to help parents learn about guiding their children, and to organise activities to foster a closer parent-child relationship.
Details of a scheme to admit talented Mainlanders to help broaden our economic base will be announced soon.
Making Hong Kong an Ideal Home
Improving Air Quality
Aim to cut respirable particulates from the present vehicle fleet by 60% by 2003 and 80% by 2005, and cut vehicle nitrogen oxide emissions by 30% by 2005.
Introduce comprehensive measures for diesel vehicles (e.g. replace diesel taxis and public light buses with liquefied petroleum gas vehicles, install particulate traps or catalytic converters for pre-Euro standard vehicles, etc.).
Provide $1.4 billion in grants to diesel vehicle owners to encourage changes needed.
Stronger actions to be taken against smoky vehicles.
Expand pedestrian zones and encourage the use of less polluting modes of transport.
Improving Water Quality
In addition to expenditure on the Strategic Sewage Disposal Scheme, spend $9 billion in the next five years on other sewerage works.
Actively co-operate with Guangdong authorities to improve the quality of Dongjiang water supply to Hong Kong.
Reducing Waste
Double the overall rate of municipal waste reduction and recycling by 2007.
Consult the community on proposals for new waste management facilities, including waste-to-energy incinerators and consider the need for imposing landfill charges.
Co-operating with the Mainland
Set up a joint working group with the Guangdong authorities to co-ordinate our efforts in six key areas of environmental protection.
Adhering to the Principle of Sustainable Development
Set up a Council for Sustainable Development to advise the Government.
Major policy proposals to be subject to "sustainability impact assessments".
Provision of a $100 million grant to support community initiatives on sustainable development.
A Quality Living Environment
Establish an Urban Renewal Authority in 2000 to replace the Land Development Corporation so as to reduce from 30 to 20 years the time needed to redevelop some 2 200 urban buildings.
Consult the public on a proposal for a statutory scheme of preventive maintenance of buildings.
Review the existing heritage policy and related legislation for better protection of historic buildings and archaeological sites.
Draw up a comprehensive conservation policy and substantially extend managed country park areas on Lantau Island.
Make land available along the waterfront for promenades and walkways and provide open plazas, landscaped areas, marinas, shops and restaurants on the open space on both sides of the harbour.
Develop a major performance venue in the West Kowloon Reclamation and a sports complex in Southeast Kowloon.
Hold an open competition to help us create a new look for our harbour in the new millennium.
The Foundation of Prosperity and Progress
Promoting the Basic Law and Constitutional Development
Organise a series of activities to promote better understanding of the Basic Law and to encourage relevant research.
Prepare for the District Councils elections to be held in November 1999 and the second Legislative Council election to be held in September 2000.
The Government is committed to the progressive development of our democratic institutions in accordance with the Basic Law.
Introducing Reforms while Maintaining Stability
Proceed with reforms prudently, such as those affecting the civil service and health and welfare services.
Our Society and Culture
Measures to be implemented to help new arrivals integrate into society.
Develop Hong Kong into an international centre for cultural exchanges by building on Chinese and Western cultures to cultivate our own distinctive and colourful culture.
Continue combating copyright piracy through law enforcement and education.
Provide additional recreational and sports facilities and actively foster more exchanges in sports with the Mainland and other parts of the world.
Enhance services and support to the aged, frail, disabled, unemployed and families in need.