WORKERS may be imported to ensure major infrastructure projects are completed on time, new public works chief Lee Shing-see said yesterday. Mr Lee, speaking on his first day in his post as Secretary for Works, said his biggest challenge would be making sure that major infrastructure projects for the next five years would proceed on schedule and keep within budget. He acknowledged that some assistance from outside labour might be required to meet the deadlines on various construction projects. 'Of course, if Hong Kong has enough workers, then priority will be given to recruiting local workers, but if there is a shortage in a certain group of workers, what should we do then?' Mr Lee asked. 'Should we just let the projects be delayed or increase the manpower to make sure the works are completed on schedule? It requires a lot of balancing.' The official said such a balancing act also applied to the issue of water charges, which had remained unchanged since 1995. A government plan to raise the charges as well as 3,000 other fees and charges was dropped in June following fierce opposition from political parties. Mr Lee said: 'On one hand, it has been several years since we last raised the water charges, and subsidies from the Government have increased enormously to the point that every person will have to share the burden. 'On the other hand, in the present economic downturn, it is not the right time for a rise but we have to balance the interest of both sides.' Meanwhile, Kwong Hon-sang, Mr Lee's predecessor, said in a radio programme that the construction of the new airport was one of the most memorable events in his 36 years of civil service.