Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen said the speedy decision to build a rail tunnel under Long Valley had shown the Government's determination to create more jobs. Speaking after launching a promotion yesterday that put the Brand Hong Kong logo on Star ferries, Mr Tsang said the $10 billion project could create up to 1,000 jobs. He said the Government would work hand in hand with the public to overcome economic hardship, citing its decision to back the Long Valley tunnel proposal as one example. The Executive Council endorsed the tunnel plan on Tuesday. It replaced the plan for a viaduct over Long Valley, which was turned down by the Environmental Impact Assessment Appeal Board in July. Other infrastructure projects, such as the Western Corridor between Shenzhen and Hong Kong and its spur lines, would be accelerated, Mr Tsang said. 'The Government will stand on the side of people during this hard time,' he said. He added that Hong Kong had retained its 'unique competitiveness', along with the principles of free opportunity and high quality. 'We, of course, should face the economic reality and work harder to overcome the challenge. But we should not forget our strengths. It is very important.' Mr Tsang said the latest interest rate cut could alleviate pressure on businesses. Meanwhile, a university alumni group said yesterday that Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung was receptive to its proposals on reversing the economic downturn. Speaking after a meeting with Mr Leung, the director of Project Hong Kong, Choi Sau-yuk, said the Financial Secretary made a 'very warm' response to the group's ideas on avoiding a recession. 'Mr Leung said in general the vast majority of our 21 recommendations were very good and acceptable,' Mr Choi said. Project Hong Kong was launched by the Hong Kong University Graduates' Association to discuss ways to improve Hong Kong's economy. It was the first body Mr Leung met in his bid to find ways to fight the downturn. The group proposed more public expenditure and the creation of at least 85,000 jobs annually through building infrastructure or developing the retailing and catering sectors. It also proposed that senior officials, including Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, should have a 20 per cent pay cut in the coming two years, and that Exco accountability be increased. Mr Leung described the proposals as 'very valuable'.