Government works with construction industry to implement 10 major infrastructures

The Government will work closely with the construction industry to fully evaluate the manpower planning and training for the construction industry, and pay attention to the market need of the industry to tie in with implementation of the 10 major infrastructures.

The Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, made the remarks in the Construction Industry Training Authority (CITA) Graduation Ceremony 2007 today (December 10).

Mrs Lam said that the Chief Executive announced in the Policy Address on October 10 that the Government would press ahead with 10 major infrastructural projects in the coming five years, so as to consolidate Hong Kong's role as a world city. Apart from taking forward the Kai Tak Development project, strengthening co-operation with Shenzhen and exploring new developments areas, the Development Bureau would also support various transportation infrastructures and the visionary West Kowloon Cultural District project. The Government would continue to launching other large-scale works projects and accelerating the implementation of various city environmental improvement works, including water mains restoration and replacement, decking of nullah, district greening and district minor works.

"We expect the Government's capital works expenditure will gradually increase in the coming few years, in order to promote economic development and create more job opportunities," she said.

Mrs Lam pointed out that to tie in with government policies and the need of the industry, apart from organising various environmental protection and industrial safety related courses, CITA would also launch an 'Introductory Course on Conservation of Built Heritage' this month to provide training for qualified construction site representatives and supervisors to enhance their knowledge on heritage structure, so that they could apply those knowledge on relevant projects in future.

"We hope that more training courses related to historic building conservation could be organised to support the Government's implementation of various heritage conservation works," she said.

Mrs Lam said that to further enhance the quality of construction workers, beginning from September 1 this year, unregistered construction workers had been prohibited from working on construction sites.

To ensure that registration work could be carried out smoothly, the CITA was appointed as the Registrar of Construction Workers by the Construction Workers Registration Authority to process workers' registration application and issue registration cards. After years of hard work, CITA has successfully processed more than 200,000 construction workers' registration applications.

"The successful implementation of the construction worker registration system could help solve some of wage dispute problems and combat illegal workers, so that local workers can be better protected. The authority can also provide reliable information on labour supply for the Government to have a more comprehensive and in-depth manpower planning and training work," Mrs Lam said.

She pointed out that the Construction Industry Council (CIC), established in February this year under the Construction Industry Council Ordinance, would be responsible for initiating the construction industry reform and sustaining improvement in the industry.  The CIC would be amalgamated with the CITA on January 1 next year so that construction industry-related work would be carried out under a more smooth and synergistic environment.

To ensure a smooth amalgamation, the CIC and CITA have already established a sound communication mechanism and have worked out a detailed amalgamation plan for major work areas so that services to the general public would not be affected, while CITA staff would also not be adversely affected by the amalgamation. The relevant legislative clauses on amalgamation were also passed by the Legislative Council last month.

"The Government will press ahead various large-scale infrastructural and fundamental works projects in the next few years.  The CIC and the CITA will be amalgamated early next year to tie in with the future development of the whole construction industry.  Through the continuous efforts of the Government, CIC and all construction industry employees, I hope that the Hong Kong construction industry will continue to improve and contribute to the sustainable development of Hong Kong," Mrs Lam said.

Ends/Monday, December 10, 2007
Issued at HKT 20:28