|LCQ6: Functions and composition of District Councils to be reviewed
Following is a question by the Hon Lau Wong-fat and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council meeting today (December 1):
The Chief Executive indicated in the 2004 Policy Address that the Government would review the functions and composition of District Councils (DCs) at a suitable time. It is the hope of DC members that the Government will conduct the review as soon as possible to further strengthen the role of DCs in district affairs. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council of:
(a) the time for commencement of the review by the Administration, as well as the anticipated timetable of the review exercise;
(b) the scope of the review; and
(c) the ways to consult the public on the review?
Our reply to the Hon Lau Wong-fat's question is as follows:
(a) The Chief Executive indicated in the 2004 Policy Address that the Government would review the functions and composition of District Councils at a suitable time. The Government is currently concentrating on the work relating to the amendments to the methods for electing the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council in 2007/08. When work on that front has reached a more mature stage, the Government will proceed with conducting the review on District Councils. In the meantime, the Constitutional Affairs Bureau will continue to work closely with the Home Affairs Bureau and other relevant bureaux and departments to make suitable preparations for the review. Our current plan is that we hope to discuss with the Legislative Council Panel on Constitutional Affairs in October 2005 issues relating to the review. We will announce further details of our work plan when these have been established.
(b) The review will cover the roles, functions and composition of District Councils, and other relevant issues. In conducting the review, we will have regard to the relevant legal provisions, the original rationale for introducing the district administration scheme, the recommendations put forth by the Government in the Report of the Working Group on District Councils Review published in 2001, and the experience of the operation of the second term District Councils since January 2004.
(c) During the review, we will issue a consultation document and listen to the views of different parties, including the Legislative Council, District Councils and the public. Detailed arrangements for the public consultation will be announced after these have been drawn up.
Ends/Wednesday, December 1, 2004