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LCQ16: Suggestions to reshuffle responsibilities of policy bureaux

Following is a question by Hon Frederick Fung and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (October 18):


Regarding the authorities' review on the responsibilities of various policy bureaux, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether it has conducted a review on the distribution of work among various bureaux; if so, of the reasons and the methodology adopted for conducting the review as well as its preliminary results; whether it will hold public consultation and has drawn up an implementation timetable; if no review has been conducted, the reasons for that;

(b) whether it will consider designating one single policy bureau to be responsible for coordinating and handling all labour matters (including employment assistance, unemployment assistance, protection of labour rights, and upgrading of skills, etc), so as to better coordinate the relevant work and to achieve more effective allocation and utilization of resources;

(c) whether it has assessed if the arrangement whereby the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau ("ETWB") is concurrently responsible for environmental protection, transport and public works has resulted in ETWB playing a confusing role due to the lack of focus and contradicting policy objectives; if there is such a situation, whether it will consider setting up an environmental protection bureau with dedicated responsibility for the environmental protection work for which ETWB is now responsible, so that the Government can take forward environmental protection work in a more focused and independent manner; and

(d) given that cultural affairs concern the sustainable development of a society and affect the life and quality of people and even the development of its economy, whether it will consider setting up a cultural affairs bureau to be responsible for all the Government's efforts on the cultural front, and allowing the involvement of personnel from that bureau in the formulation of policies by other policy bureaux, so that cultural concerns can be reflected in government policies?


Madam President,

Prior to delivery of the 2006/07 Policy Address, the Chief Executive (CE) held consultation sessions with Legislative Council Members, political parties and political groups, as well as representatives of different sectors of the community to listen to their views and expectations on the Policy Address. During the process, some participants put forth views about the reshuffling of responsibilities among the 11 existing policy bureaux of the Government Secretariat; these views cover policy areas relating to health and welfare, environment and transport, energy and culture, etc.

The Administration has put the suggestions received on record. If the third term CE takes the view that it is necessary to consider reshuffling the responsibilities among the existing bureaux, the suggestions received earlier will be referred to.

Ends/Wednesday, October 18, 2006