Chief Executive inspects infrastructure projects (with photos/video)

The Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, today (February 26) visited two works sites to inspect the progress of infrastructure projects and the job opportunities generated.

Accompanied by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, the Chief Executive first visited the site of the Hong Kong West Drainage Tunnel at Cyberport, Pok Fu Lam.  

The project, which involves the construction of a drainage tunnel from Tai Hang to Cyberport, is designed to intercept and convey the run-off in mid-hill for discharge into the sea without passing through the low-lying areas downstream. This will alleviate the flooding problem in northern Hong Kong Island. 

Mr Tsang then proceeded to a site in Anderson Road, Kwun Tong, where about 20 hectares of land platforms will be formed. With supporting infrastructure, it will facilitate the development of public housing and associated public facilities including an underground stormwater storage tank for flood control.

The Chief Executive said he was pleased to see that the two projects are making satisfactory progress. He also took the chance to talk to workers at the sites to learn more about their employment situation.

"The two projects are now hiring about 1,000 workers of different streams. Some were laid-off workers who have returned from Macau. I am glad that by pushing ahead with infrastructure projects, the Government's effort to ease the pressure on the employment market is starting to pay off.

"Although the 10 major infrastructure projects have yet to enter the construction stage, early planning and preparatory work have already started. Meanwhile, the Government is also actively undertaking other infrastructure projects of various scales which will create many employment opportunities for different construction trades," Mr Tsang said.

In 2008-09, the actual expenditure for the Capital Works Programme has been revised upwards from the original estimate of $21.8 billion to $23 billion. As reflected in the Annual Estimates published yesterday (February 25), it will rise to about $40 billion in 2009-10. About 47,100 job opportunities for professionals and workers will be provided, representing a substantial increase of 11,800 jobs over the last financial year. The job figure of 47,100 includes some 13,400 employment opportunities generated by minor works projects.

Annual capital works expenditure will be at a very high level over the next few years, and is expected to reach $50 billion.

"The Financial Secretary announced in the Budget yesterday that the Development Bureau would set up a Development Opportunities Office to provide an effective platform to better co-ordinate private development projects involving policies handled by different government departments. This will help promote private development, thus creating more job opportunities," the Chief Executive said.

"'Preserving jobs' is a key guiding principle in the Government's efforts to tackle the financial tsunami. We will introduce further measures if necessary to provide assistance to job-seekers," Mr Tsang added.

Ends/Thursday, February 26, 2009
Issued at HKT 12:54


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