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LCQ20: Development Opportunities Office

Following is a question by the Hon Abraham Shek Lai-him and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (December 15):

Question:

To enable land development to facilitate the strengthening of Hong Kong's competitiveness and enhancement of economic and social benefits, the Government has in recent years consciously improved the relevant work processes and enhanced efficiency, including setting up the Development Opportunities Office (DOO) in April 2009, to facilitate the implementation of land development projects that are conducive to the development of Hong Kong.  The development of housing is also closely related to land development.  Regarding measures to promote the land and housing development in Hong Kong, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) as at the end of October this year, of the total number of projects for which co-ordinated service has been provided by DOO, and among them, the respective numbers of community projects proposed by non-governmental organisations and private-sector development projects, the number of projects which sought assistance but was not given assistance, together with a breakdown of the title, address, purpose, investment amounts and progress of these projects;

(b) given that DOO is now half way into the three-year operation period planned by the authorities, whether the authorities have conducted any review on its performance; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and

(c) given that land and housing policies are at present handled separately by two policy bureaux, whether the authorities will let one bureau be solely responsible for these two policies, so as to co-ordinate and collaborate development needs in land and housing; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?

Reply:

President,

The Development Opportunities Office (DOO) was set up in July 2009 to provide an effective platform for relevant bureaux and departments to jointly assess the merits of individual land development proposals and provide one-stop consultation and co-ordination services to meritorious projects.  Projects seeking DOO's assistance should meet a set of eligibility criteria, including that the project proponents should possess the land required for the proposed projects (although some flexibility may be allowed for projects proposed by non-governmental organisations) and that the proposed projects should not be exclusively residential but should carry broader social or economic merits.

My reply to the three parts of the question is as follows:
  
(a) As at end October 2010, the DOO had handled or was handling 34 proposed land development projects meeting the eligibility criteria mentioned above.  Amongst them, 22 were community projects proposed by non-governmental organisations, while 12 were private sector development projects.

DOO had been working in conjunction with the project proponents and relevant government departments and had identified the issues of concern for 17 proposed projects.  These projects were presented to the Land and Development Advisory Committee (LDAC) for advice and support.  Relevant details of these 17 proposed projects (including the title, location, purpose and progress) are set out in the table.

LDAC members supported 13 proposed projects and did not support the other four projects.  According to information provided by the project proponents, the 13 land development projects receiving LDAC's support would involve a total capital investment of about $12 billion (excluding land premium), while the total capital investment of the four proposed projects that did not receive support was about $11 billion.  It should however be noted that not all project proponents are ready to disclose the relevant information and where the information is provided, DOO has not verified it.

As for projects that have not been presented to LDAC for discussion, DOO is providing to them one-stop consultation and co-ordination services.  As these projects are still at a relatively early planning stage, we should not disclose their names and particulars prematurely because they may be commercially sensitive information for the project proponents.  But when these projects reach a more mature stage, we would present them to LDAC for advice so that they would be considered more objectively and comprehensively.

(b) We have undertaken to review DOO's performance and effectiveness in 2011-12 before deciding on whether there is a permanent need for the Office and, if so, whether there is a need to adjust its scope of work, resources and organisational structure.  Meanwhile, we are reporting the work progress of DOO to the Panel on Development regularly.  We presented the first work progress report in March this year and will be presenting the second report on December 16, 2010.  In our progress reports, we have included preliminary reviews on the performance of DOO and set out its work progress using quantitative measurements, such as number of projects handled or being handling by DOO, number of projects presented to LDAC for advice, the total capital investment of projects supported by LDAC and job opportunities that would be created.

(c) The Transport and Housing Bureau (THB) is responsible for monitoring the development of the private housing market. To this end, THB collects data on the private housing market, including the commencement and completion of private residential projects and units involved, and the expected volume of supply of private housing in the next three to four years. THB regularly publishes the relevant data for the reference of the public and departments. The Development Bureau is responsible for providing stable and adequate supply of land through effective planning and use of land. The Government has no plan to re-organise the two Policy Bureaux and their work.

 

Ends/Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Issued at HKT 17:45

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