The Policy Address and Policy Agenda 2017

Improving People’s Livelihood

Housing: Land Supply (P. 48-49)

  1. Whether it is about solving people’s home ownership problems or improving their living conditions, we must increase land supply. Over the years, the Government has proposed many strategies for increasing land supply, including reclamation outside the Victoria Harbour, reviewing land uses, increasing the development intensity of sites, developing rock cavern space, speeding up urban renewal, developing the Lantau Island, etc. The departments and organisations concerned are also undertaking studies on the utilisation of land on the periphery of country parks and the use of brownfield sites in the New Territories. Many proposals on land supply have also been put forward in the community. Hence, it appears that what is lacking is not ideas on how to increase land supply but a broad consensus on the pros and cons, trade-offs and priorities of different options. However, if we continued to argue repeatedly and stayed indecisive, coupled with the long lead time for land production, the tight land supply in Hong Kong would only get worse, making it even more difficult for our people to realise their aspirations for home ownership.
  2. Established in September this year, the Task Force on Land Supply (Task Force) will lead the community to examine the pros and cons of different land supply options in a thorough and macro manner, with a view to achieving the broadest consensus in the community. With an important mission to achieve within a limited time frame, the Task Force plans to launch a public engagement exercise in the first half of 2018. We appeal to all sectors of the community to consider the difficult questions of land supply in an inclusive, open and rational manner. We also look to the Task Force to draw up a comprehensive package of proposals and a visionary land supply strategy.

 

Labour Rights: Occupational Safety and Health (P. 66)

  1. The Government attaches importance to occupational safety and health (OSH) of employees. While the overall OSH situation in Hong Kong has seen continuous improvement, the industrial accident rate of the construction industry remains relatively high. The Government is particularly concerned about the fatal construction accidents which occurred during the year. In view of this, we will adopt a three-pronged approach to enhance the OSH of the construction industry by stepping up inspection and enforcement, publicity and promotion, as well as education and training. We are also aware that the relatively lenient penalties for non-compliance of OSH legislation have failed to reflect the seriousness of the offences. We therefore consider it necessary to impose heavier penalties against breaches of OSH legislation, as appropriate, in order to achieve a greater deterrent effect and further enhance OSH protection for workers. We are pressing ahead with the review on relevant legislation and are seeking advice from the DoJ. We aim to put forward the broad directions of the proposed legislative amendments within this year.

Contributing Authors

Steve Root, Director, The Contracts Group

Based in Hong Kong, The Contracts Group specialises in the provision of expert contractual & commercial consultancy services for the construction industry in China, Asia and worldwide.

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