HONG KONG, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Chief Executive CY Leung delivered his first policy address on Wednesday morning at the Legislative Council here, outlining the city government's policy direction in 2013.
"My team and I have taken expeditious actions to address the most pressing needs of the community," Leung said in the annual policy address which was live broadcast for Hong Kong's 7.1 million people.
The policy address, entitled "Seek change, maintain stability, serve the people with pragmatism", laid out the government's major governance principles, policies and initiatives.
By emphasizing the relationship between pursuing people's livelihood and the economic development, Leung said that "we promote economic development for the purpose of improving people's livelihood, and that in turn will provide a more stable business environment."
"In our drive to improve people's livelihood, we must take timely actions to address the pressing needs of the community. Speedy actions are required on both these fronts," he continued.
Leung summarized that on the fronts of economy, housing and people's livelihood, the government has set up task forces, introduced new measures and undertaken a variety of initiatives to help the needed.
"These examples demonstrate the determination of the current- term Government, with the support of our civil servants, to meet public aspirations as promptly as possible," he said.
According to Leung, the Hong Kong government must be " appropriately proactive" to promote economic development. The government should refrain from intervention when the market is functioning efficiently, but the government must take appropriate action to address the problem in cases of market failure.
ADDRESSING HOUSING NEED
To address the housing need, Leung said the government is " determined to uphold the principle of assisting grassroots families in moving into public housing and the middle-income families in buying their own homes."
Leung admitted that supply shortage lies at the heart of the prevailing housing problem. According to him, in the past five years, on average only 9,800 private residential flats and about 15,000 Public Rental Housing (PRH) flats were completed each year; the figure for Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) flats was zero.
With the concerted efforts of various departments, the government have secured land for the development of about 75,000 new PRH flats over the five years from 2012-13 and about 17,000 HOS flats over the four years starting from 2016-17, he concluded, adding that a total of 67,000 first-hand private residential units should come on the market in the next three to four years.
"Clearly, the total supply of public and private housing over the next five years will be higher than that in the past five years," Leung commented.
For the short-to-medium term in the future, Leung promoted seven specific measures to increase the supply of Subsidized Housing.
The report set the goal of PRH supply as at least 100,000 units over the five years starting from 2018. Besides, more subsidized houses are to be built and the first batch of 2,100 new Home Ownership Scheme flats will be offered for pre-sale next year, he announced.
Leung also said that the Housing Department will step up its efforts to combat the abuse of PRH resources. Meanwhile, the Development Bureau (DEVB) and the Transport and Housing Bureau ( THB) will examine all projects in the pipeline to increase the plot ratio appropriately.
As for the long term housing strategy, the Steering Committee is conducting a comprehensive review of public and private housing demand, including the demand for rental housing and home ownership, and devising a new long-term housing strategy.
Also, the Committee will assess the medium and long-term housing needs of different social strata and groups, set priorities and make long-term plans, he further elaborated.
In terms of land supply, Leung said the government will " continue to adopt a multi-pronged approach and step up its efforts to meet housing and other needs."
The government is obliged to increase land supply in the short, medium and long term through optimal use of developed land and identifying new land for development at the same time, Leung mentioned.