The legislature passed the outline of a government-initiated bill on the framework for the management of Macau’s coastal waters on Tuesday. The bill proposes that no gaming projects be allowed on land newly reclaimed from the sea.
Secretary for Administration and Justice Sonia Chan Hoi Fan introduced the outline of the bill during a plenary session in the legislature’s hemicycle.
In December 2015, the central government granted Macau jurisdiction over 85 square kilometres of its coastal waters to help with its economic diversification. Previously, unlike Hong Kong, Macau had no jurisdiction over its coastal waters. The city’s current land area amounts to about 30.5 square kilometres, according to the latest available data from the Statistics and Census Bureau (DSEC).
According to Chan, the bill proposes that the local government should manage the city’s coastal waters in line with six objectives, namely ensuring that the development of Macau’s coastal waters complies with the national interest and with the city’s long-term development interests; promoting economic diversification and the city’s sustainable development; protecting the marine environment; strengthening the city’s capacity to prevent and reduce marine disasters; increase the quality and efficiency of the development of the city’s coastal waters; and promoting the development of the city’s marine economy.
According to the Macau Post Daily, the bill states that the local government needs to apply for permission from the central government to reclaim land in Macau’s coastal waters. The bill also states that the local government has to ensure that any ongoing and future land reclaimed from Macau’s coastal waters will not be used for gaming projects.
The bill is slated to be reviewed in detail by one of the standing committees of the Legislative Assembly before its final version will be submitted to a plenary session of for its second reading and article-by-article vote.