October 2018
The Chief Executive of Hong Kong Government, Mrs Carrie Lam, presented her 2018 Policy Address on 10 October. Titled “Striving Ahead Rekindling Hope”, the Policy Address contains a number of initiatives in the areas of housing and land, economic development, liveable city, labour and welfare, and health care. Mrs Lam said she strongly believed that it would lead to a broad runway for Hong Kong to take off again.

Mrs Lam also stressed the importance of the rule of law (Paras 31 and 32): "We will continue to steadfastly safeguard judicial independence and uphold the rule of law ….... It is in everyone's interests that the rule of law remains strong, respected and visible."

Initiatives which will be of interest to the business and international communities are summarised as follows:
Land and Housing
  • Allocate more land for public housing; allocate 70% of housing units on newly developed land for public housing
  • Launch "Lantau Tomorrow Vision" to spur economic development; start a study on reclamation for artificial islands with a total area of 1700 hectares off East Lantau for economic development and housing for up to 1.1 million people
  • Reactivate the revitalisation scheme for industrial buildings for social and economic needs, including for transitional housing
Diversified Economy
  • Enhance Hong Kong's global status by signing more bilateral and multilateral agreements
  • Fully participate in and contribute to the Belt and Road Initiative to generate new impetus for economic development
  • Establish a Steering Committee to identify opportunities and co-ordinate participation in the Greater Bay Area
  • HK$20 billion (about AUD$3.6 billion) injection to the Research Endowment Fund of Research Grants Council
  • Launch a HK$3 billion (about AUD$536 million) Research Matching Grant Scheme
  • Introduce a fellowship scheme for outstanding academics to strengthen the R&D and I & T pool in Hong Kong
  • Launch a HK$2 billion (about AUD$357 million) re-industrialisation funding scheme to set up smart production lines in Hong Kong
  • Allocate HK$2 billion (about AUD$357 million) for facilities to support the smart manufacturing sector in industrial estates
  • Increase funding support for the technology transfer offices in universities
  • Announce annual plans to open up Government data
  • Formulate tax measures to foster ship leasing business; tax concessions for marine insurance sector; HK$200 million (about AUD$36 million) additional for the Maritime and Aviation Training Fund
  • Issue first batch of virtual banking licences in 2018 or early 2019
  • Open up government premises to install 5G base stations by mobile phone operators
  • Extra HK$1 billion (about AUD$179 million) for Film Development Fund to nurture talent, enhance local film production, expand markets
  Liveable City

  • Rationalise tolls for the three cross-harbour tunnels
  • Waive or pay tolls for franchised bus services to reduce fare increase pressures
  • Launch consultations on Electronic Road Pricing Pilot Scheme in Central
  • Introduce a water taxi service in the harbour (Kai Tak - Hung Hom - Tsim Sha Tsui East - West Kowloon - Central) and revive the Central-Hung Hom ferry service
  • Study feasibility of regulatory control of plastic table ware; Government to take the lead in reducing use of plastic table ware
  • Develop renewable energy sector with Government taking the lead and supporting individuals and non-governmental organisations to install renewable energy facilities
Animal Welfare
  • Amend laws to protect animal welfare; establish the "Animal Watchers Scheme" by the Police
  Labour and Welfare
  • Secure passage of legislation to abolish the Mandatory Provident Fund Scheme offsetting mechanism
  • Extend statutory maternity leave from 10 to 14 weeks, with immediate effect for all female government employees
  • Extend statutory paternity leave from 3 to 5 days as early as possible
  • Additional resources for Commission on Children
  • Strengthen support for people with disabilities
  • Allocate more than HK$500 million (more than AUD$89 million) to strengthen support services for ethnic minorities
  • Strengthen primary health care by establishing the first District Health Centre in Kwai Tsing and extend the model to other districts
  • Recognise positioning of Chinese medicine in healthcare system; HK$500 million (about AUD$89 million) to promote applied research and specialisation of Chinese medicine
  • Propose to legislate a ban on the import, sale, distribution and advertising of electronic cigarettes and other new smoking products
  • Introduce free cervical cancer vaccine for school girls of a specific age group
  Nurturing Talent
  • Implement an all-graduate teaching force policy in public primary and secondary schools
  • Provide a "Life-wide Learning Grant" for public schools to help students broaden their horizons
  • Extra HK$800 million (about AUD$143 million) annually to support students with special education needs
  • Extra HK$570 million (about AUD$102 million) annually to strengthen administrative support for public and Direct Subsidy Scheme Schools
  Details can be found at the following links:  
  Policy Address website
  Hong Kong
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