Partnership the key to success, SETW tells civil servants

The Secretary for Environment, Transport and Works, Dr Sarah Liao, said today (August 28) that working in partnership would be a key to success as Hong Kong copes with the challenges of the future.

"We want to be part of China's ascendance to the world stage, its accession to the WTO.

"We want to have a collaboration with people across the border, our Mainland Chinese colleagues," Dr Liao said.

"And we also need partnership with outside community. The community is part of us; there is no us or them" she added.

Speaking at the civil service management forum, Dr Liao said that in the one month that she had been in her new post she was impressed by the hard work, competence and commitment of civil servants in serving the community.

She said that the civil service now had to manage the changing needs, rising public expectations, political pressure and demands.

Dr Liao told more than 1,500 civil servants attending the forum being held at the HKCEC that they needed to build up a strong team that would break all barriers.

The Secretary highlighted Hong Kong's world-class transport system, stricter environmental controls and impressive pace of infrastructure development as examples of how well Hong Kong's civil service had coped with challenges in the past two decades.

She also asked those attending the forum to consider some thought-provoking, real-life case studies in a bid to stimulate bright new ideas.

These included:

* How to finance the required expansion of Hong Kong's railway system if indirect subsidy through property development was no longer possible.

* Whether fuel cell technology that turned water into energy could be used to solve all vehicular emission problems within this decade.

* Whether the 'polluter-pays' principle should be applied to the waste that people generated and if recycled material could be turned into an industry.

* How to reduce construction costs as well as improve efficiency.

* Whether dis-salinized seawater and water recycling should be looked into as a sustainable solution.

"We must have the political courage to go forward with what we believe in," Dr Liao said.

She was confident that civil servants could once again meet these challenges.

"I strongly believe that with our colleagues in the civil service, we'll make Hong Kong, our home, Asia's World City."

The management forum - 'A world-class government for Asia's world city - has been organised by the Efficiency Unit, under the Chief Secretary for Administration's Office.

About 14,000 middle and senior ranking civil servants will take part in the eight forum sessions between August 26 and August 29.

Ends/Wednesday, August 28, 2002