Created on 2017-05-05

The Government consulted the public on the review of the Fare Adjustment Mechanism (FAM) of the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) during the period from May 20 to August 19 2016. The Government announced the views received during the consultation period on October 27.
 
A Government spokesman said that, during the three-month consultation period, the Government received 408 submissions, of which 349 were emails with identical content. These submissions were submitted by different individuals, organisations and groups in the community, including Members of the Legislative Council and District Councils, political parties, think tanks, residents' groups and individual citizens. 
 
"The Government noted that the mainstream views received during the consultation period suggest that the existing FAM should be improved. Particularly, the operation of the FAM should duly reflect the profitability of the MTRCL. The Government has already reflected to the MTRCL the views received, and will duly consider these views in the course of reviewing the FAM of the MTRCL. The outcome of the review will be effective in the fare adjustment in 2017," the spokesman said.
 
The Government mentioned in the consultation document that the main direction of the review is to see how the operation of the FAM could better respond to public concern about the relationship between the FAM and the MTRCL's profitability as well as affordability for passengers, whilst still respecting the financial prudence required of the MTRCL as a listed company, on the premise that a transparent fare adjustment mechanism based on public and objective data and a direct-drive formula will be retained. 
 
Key views received during the consultation period have been uploaded to the website of Transport and Housing Bureau and the website of Transport Department.


pdf icon Key views received during the public consultation on the review of the MTRCL Fare Adjustment Mechanism

 
Created on 2017-01-18

The Government completed a three-month public engagement exercise for the "Electronic Road Pricing Pilot Scheme in Central and its Adjacent Areas" on March 18, 2016, and a total of 515 submissions were received. During the public engagement exercise the Transport and Housing Bureau and Transport Department also organised and participated in 20 events and meetings, including a District Council forum, focus group meetings, thematic seminars and other meetings. In addition, the Secretary for Transport and Housing and the Under Secretary for Transport and Housing separately attended two meetings of the Legislative Council (LegCo) Panel on Transport to listen to the views of LegCo members. The Government has collated the views received and compiled the public engagement report, which was uploaded on January 17.

Electronic road pricing (ERP) is a traffic management tool that can effectively tackle localised road traffic congestion. It primarily aims at reducing the number of vehicles entering and leaving the charging area during the charging period, thereby improving the traffic conditions in the charging area. The public engagement exercise was conducted to enhance public understanding of the basic concepts and overseas experience of ERP, encourage discussion and build a consensus in the community, and allow the Government to solicit the views of the public and stakeholders on the pilot scheme. At the same time, the Government sought public views on the six basic elements (charging area, charging mechanism, charging period, charging level, exemption and concession, technology) and three pertinent issues (privacy concerns, effectiveness, complementary measures) of the pilot scheme.pu

The public engagement report has been uploaded to the dedicated website, the websites of the Transport and Housing Bureau and the Transport Department for public viewing.


pdf icon "Electronic Road Pricing Pilot Scheme in Central and its Adjacent Areas" Public Engagement Report

 
Created on 2017-01-10

The Government released the Consultation Report on the Voluntary Health Insurance Scheme (VHIS) in January 9, which summarises the consultation outcomes and maps out the way forward. The Government will implement the VHIS through a non-legislative framework, and that the Minimum Requirements and related proposals will be refined.

A spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau (FHB) said, "As revealed by the consultation outcomes, there was broad support for the concept and policy objectives of the VHIS in general. Many considered it a positive step towards redressing the balance of the public-private healthcare sectors. Many also concurred that the proposed Minimum Requirements approach will help ensure that those who have taken out such insurance can make use of the protection when they require medical diagnosis and treatment."

The Government, in its public consultation, proposed that insurers selling and/or effecting individual hospital insurance would be required to comply with a set of Minimum Requirements prescribed by the Government. The Minimum Requirements are introduced to improve the accessibility and continuity of individual hospital insurance, enhance the quality and promote the transparency and certainty of insurance protection.

"There was support for most of the Minimum Requirements, including guaranteed renewal, no 'lifetime benefit limit', coverage of hospitalisation and prescribed ambulatory procedures, coverage of prescribed advanced diagnostic imaging tests and non-surgical cancer treatments, budget certainty, standardised policy terms and conditions, premium transparency, minimum benefit limits, cost-sharing restrictions and coverage of pre-existing conditions.

"As regards the proposals of guaranteed acceptance with premium loading cap and portable insurance policy, some respondents noted that they would have to be underpinned by a High Risk Pool (HRP) to be established with injection of public funding to enable high-risk individuals to purchase private hospital insurance. Some respondents questioned the concept of using public money to help such high-risk individuals to purchase private hospital insurance, and the financial sustainability of the proposed HRP in general," the spokesman said.

In response to feedback collected during the Public Consultation, the Government will refine the Minimum Requirements and related proposals. Notably, given the public's diverse views on the proposed establishment of the HRP, the two Minimum Requirements of "guaranteed acceptance" and "portable insurance policy" would be dealt with at a later stage together with the HRP.

The Government will also implement the VHIS through a non-legislative framework, which has the merits of reducing the unintended impact of a brand new regulatory regime on the insurance industry, whilst benefiting the public with enhanced protection as soon as possible.

The spokesman added, "FHB will issue and update a set of VHIS practice guidelines, based on the proposed Minimum Requirements, in consultation with relevant stakeholders. Moreover, the independent Insurance Authority will be invited to issue a Guidance Note to provide guidance on various aspects of underwriting individual hospital insurance business, under which insurers would be recommended to comply with the VHIS practice guidelines to be issued by FHB.

"FHB will establish a VHIS Office to certify those products that are VHIS-compliant, which would be eligible for tax deduction. We aim to finalise the VHIS practice guidelines and details of the tax deduction arrangement in 2018."

The Government conducted a public consultation on VHIS from December 15, 2014, to April 16, 2015. A total of 600 written submissions, comprising 478 from individuals and 122 from organisations, were received during the consultation period. The Consultation Report on VHIS can be downloaded from the VHIS website, and will be available for collection at district offices from January 16 onwards.


pdf icon Forum Summary

pdf iconConsultation Report on VHIS

 
Created on 2016-12-01

Biological resources provide for our daily needs, such as clothing, food, shelter, fuel and medicine, etc..  However, due to the current over-consumption pattern, many of the biological resources that we come across are now under the risk of depletion and exhaustion.  If the rate of harvesting and consumption is greater than the reproduction rate, more and more species, habitats and resources will disappear more quickly than we can imagine!

The Council for Sustainable Development carried out a public engagement on promotion of sustainable consumption of biological resources and invited public views on three major aspects:

- How to facilitate smart choices for consumers?

- How to promote best practices among businesses and the public sector?

- What kinds of education and publicity activities should be pursued?

The public engagement document, online views collection form and details about the engagement events are available at the Council's dedicated website.


pdf icon Forum Summary

 
Created on 2016-11-29

The Steering Committee on Mediation published the "Enactment of Apology Legislation in Hong Kong: Final Report and Recommendations" (the Final Report) on November 28. It sets out the responses received during the second round public consultation conducted from February to April 2016, the Steering Committee's comments on those responses, its final recommendations and the latest draft Apology Bill.

The main objective of putting forward apology legislation is to promote and encourage the making of apologies in order to facilitate settlement of disputes by clarifying the legal consequences of making an apology.

In June 2015, the Steering Committee conducted the first round public consultation and the majority of the respondents supported the proposal that apology legislation should be enacted in Hong Kong. In February 2016, the Steering Committee published an interim report setting out its recommendations and conducted the second round public consultation on the following issues:

(1) Excepted proceedings to which the proposed apology legislation shall not apply;

(2) Whether factual information conveyed in an apology should likewise be protected by the proposed apology legislation; and

(3) The draft Apology Bill.

A total of 60 written submissions from a range of respondents including government bureaux and departments, statutory bodies or regulators, political parties, academics, civic and social organisations as well as stakeholders from various sectors such as banking, engineering, medicine, law and mediation, were received by the Steering Committee.

After carefully considering the responses on the three issues under consultation, the Steering Committee made the following final recommendations:

(1) The proposed apology legislation should apply to all civil proceedings, including disciplinary and regulatory proceedings, with the exception of proceedings conducted under the Commissions of Inquiry Ordinance (Cap. 86), the Coroners Ordinance (Cap. 504) and the Control of Obscene and Indecent Articles Ordinance (Cap. 390). Further, a mechanism should be included in the draft Apology Bill to allow future amendments to be made to the schedule of excepted proceedings so as to allow flexibility.

(2) Factual information conveyed in an apology should likewise be protected by the proposed apology legislation, and the Court or tribunal in applicable proceedings should retain a discretion to admit such statements of fact as evidence against the maker of the apology when it is just and equitable to do so, having regard to all the relevant circumstances.

Further, responses received on the draft Apology Bill have been considered by the Steering Committee, and these are set out in the Final Report and reflected in the latest draft Apology Bill.

The Department of Justice agrees to these recommendations, and will seek to introduce the apology legislation in the legislative year 2016/17.

The Final Report is now available on the website of the Department of Justice: www.doj.gov.hk/eng/public/apology.html.


pdf icon ENACTMENT OF APOLOGY LEGISLATION IN HONG KONG: FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS

 
Created on 2016-06-02

The Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, delivered the 2016-17 Budget Speech at the Legislative Council on February 24, 2016. Please click the following link for more information on the new Budget:

二零一六至一七年度政府財政預算案


  Forum Summary 

 
Created on 2016-05-31

The Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, has announced on January 13 a broad range of initiatives in the 2016 Policy Address – Innovate for the Economy, Improve Livelihood, Foster Harmony, Share Prosperity – to develop the economy, support innovation and technology, enhance education and improve health care.  You may click the following link for more information on the 2016 Policy Address:

2016 Policy Address


  Forum Summary 

 
Created on 2016-03-25

     The Government published the Consultation Report on Enhancement of Voter Registration System on  January 21, setting out the views received during the consultation exercise and the Government's position on the proposed measures after considering the views received.

     A spokesman for the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau (CMAB) said, "The views received are in general supportive of the measures proposed in the Consultation Document on Enhancement of Voter Registration System. We will work with the Registration and Electoral Office (REO), the Department of Justice and relevant government departments to follow them up."

     The spokesman added, "The Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) has considered and is in general supportive of the measures proposed in the Consultation Document as well."

     In the light of the views collected during the public consultation exercise and with the support of the EAC, the following measures will be implemented as soon as possible in the 2016 voter registration (VR) cycle:

- The EAC will make amendments to the subsidiary legislation under the Electoral Affairs Commission Ordinance (Cap. 541) to advance the statutory deadline for change of registration particulars to the same statutory deadline for new registrations, and to change to use surface mail for all inquiries and notifications. The amendments will be gazetted tomorrow (January 22); and
 
- The REO will strengthen verification of address information with other government departments and other sources, increase the use of other means to communicate with electors, and enhance public education and publicity on VR.

     For the other measures, the Government will take them forward as follows:

- The majority of views received support increasing the penalties for the offence of making false statements in VR. The Government will carefully consider the appropriate level of penalties and put forward specific legislative proposals in due course;

- For the objection process, more views received support specifying in the law that the burden of proof rests on the objector and the objector should be required to appear at hearings. In addition, the majority of views received support uploading information on objection cases to the REO website and empowering the REO to handle indubitable objection cases. The Government will study carefully how to formulate the legislative and administrative arrangements to implement these measures, with a view to introducing them in due course;

- The majority of views received support extending the time limit for the REO to process objection cases and the Revising Officer to conduct hearings. However, noting that this measure might not be necessary after the other proposals have been implemented and having regard to the impact this measure would have on the various VR deadlines, the Government would consider the need or otherwise of this measure further; and

- The majority of views received support introducing a requirement for producing address proof by electors when submitting applications for new registration or change of registration particulars. However, views have also been received expressing concerns that such a requirement may become a serious disincentive to the public to register as electors. The Government will study the matter with care, including whether to introduce the address proof requirement in respect of change of registration particulars first, and put forward proposals in due course.

     As implementation of the above measures may involve amendments to the primary legislation of various pieces of electoral legislation and there are still many bills that remain to be scrutinised by the current-term Legislative Council (LegCo) in its remaining six months or so, the Government would introduce the necessary legislative proposals to give effect to the above measures in the next term of LegCo.

     The Consultation Report is available on the CMAB website (www.cmab.gov.hk).

     In the light of the public concerns expressed on matters relating to VR in July and August 2015, the Government embarked on a review of the existing VR system and issued the Consultation Document on November 26, 2015, to collect public views up to January 8, 2016. A total of 277 submissions from LegCo Members, political parties, organisations and members of the public have been received. The LegCo Panel on Constitutional Affairs was consulted at its meeting held on December 21, 2015.


 Forum Summary

 
Created on 2015-10-13

The Government and the Construction Industry Council conducted a survey in 2011 on payment practices in the construction industry. The result revealed that contractors, sub-contractors, consultants and material suppliers were subject to payment disputes from time to time causing serious concerns. The Government and industry stakeholders thereafter set up a working group which, after thorough studies and reference to overseas practices, recommended legislation on security of payment in the industry.

To promote fair payment in the industry, the proposed security of payment legislation will seek to ensure that service providers can receive timely payment when their work is completed. The ordinance will also introduce an adjudication system to speed up the settlement of disputes.  The ordinance will cover all construction works for the Government and specified public bodies, as well as new private building works over $5 million (except renovation, maintenance and repair works). The legislative framework of the ordinance is as follows:

● "Pay when paid" and similar clauses will be rendered unenforceable;

● Contracting parties have the right to adjudication in the event of non-payment or in respect of disputes over payment and/or the construction period;

● A contract party that has not been paid approved amounts or amounts decided by the adjudicator has the statutory right to suspend works; and

● Disputes may still be referred to the court or arbitration pursuant to the contract if a contract party is not satisfied with the adjudicator's decision.

You may click the following links to view the consultation document on the “Proposed Security of Payment Legislation for the Construction Industry” and other information:–

 Consultation Document

 Summary and Guide

 Leaflet


 Forum Summary

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