Airport work watchdog warning
THE Airport Consultative Committee (ACC) has been warned that its new subcommittee on works progress and cost monitoring would be ineffective if members failed to formulate a pro-active mechanism to scrutinise the multi-billion dollar project.
Speaking after a meeting of the subcommittee yesterday, ACC member Francis Cheung King-fung urged the group to better define its powers in the monitoring process.
He was surprised the committee's first meeting had been adjourned following the election of its leaders and a briefing by the Government.
The date for its next meeting has yet to be fixed.
'Given the few meetings held by the ACC, we should use every meeting to make progress,' he said. 'It is also difficult to map out the details of the monitoring plan during meetings of such a big group. We should set up a working group to prepare some proposed guidelines for our endorsement.' The sub-committee was formed after repeated appeals from ACC members for a more significant role in the new airport project.
ACC chairman Wong Po-yan was elected convenor of the new group and Kan Fook-yee, the deputy.
The 33-strong body is charged with the task of monitoring and assessing the overall works progress, cost, effectiveness and control of the airport core programme. It will also advise the ACC.
But it was not certain whether the group had the power to demand information from agencies involved in the airport project, such as the Provisional Airport Authority and the Mass Transit Railway, Mr Cheung said.
He said there was also a need to clarify the group's relation with existing monitoring mechanisms.
The Director of the New Airport Projects Co-ordination Office, Billy Lam Chung-lun, said the new group would provide a valuable forum for ACC members to be consulted.
'I am sure the new sub-committee, with a total of 33 members coming from a wide cross-section of the community, will provide us with invaluable advice.' It 'will strengthen the role of the ACC in monitoring the cost and progress of the airport core programme in response to the requirements of the Agreed Minute signed last November,' he said.
Mr Lam also reported that a total of 112 core programme contracts, amounting to $80.9 billion, had been awarded so far.
The Legislative Council has already approved 97 per cent of the funds for the Government works, and $60.3 billion as government injection to the airport and airport railway projects.