Carrie Lam floats ideas for new government bureaus

Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Wednesday set out her ideas on how the government could be restructured in order to complement policy focuses and “meet social expectations”.

One of the key suggestions made in her policy address was setting up a culture, sports and tourism bureau.

“[This is] to consolidate the culture portfolio and the creative industries and tourism portfolio currently under the Home Affairs Bureau and the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau respectively, thereby facilitating the development of Hong Kong as an East-meets-West centre for international cultural exchange,” Lam said.

She said society and lawmakers generally support the idea of a dedicated culture bureau, and Hong Kong’s economic and trade offices, abroad and on the mainland, would play a key role in promoting the the SAR’s cultural industries.

Lam proposed splitting the Transport and Housing Bureau into two, saying a dedicated housing bureau could look at consolidating its work with the Development Bureau to expedite land supply for housing.

The CE said the Home Affairs Bureau could be turned into a bureau for youth and district affairs, to focus on the daily issues of the public and support youth development.

Another of her suggestions was to expand the Innovation and Technology Bureau to cover industry as well, “to change the perception that local industries are declining”.

Lam said her administration will consult people on the ideas in the coming months, and she hopes the next legislature will start discussing them as soon as it is formed in December.

The CE didn’t touch on a proposal from political parties to introduce a deputy chief secretary.

However, she called on more “patriots” to join the governing team, adding that Chief Secretary John Lee will review the existing selection and appointment mechanism for directorate civil servants in the coming months, in a bid to “appoint the most visionary and competent officers to the most suitable positions”.

In a press conference later, Lam said the proposed revamp has nothing to do with whether she seeks another five-year term.

“We handle this matter because it’s what the society wants, something that we cannot avoid,” she said. “You can say I’m a responsible person, I wouldn’t lie back and stop working just because my term ends soon.”
Last updated: 2021-10-06 HKT 17:17