Part Four Travel - 4.3 Entitlements to Travel by Car

4.3 Entitlements to Travel by Car

There are four entitlements for Senators and Members in respect of travel by car:

  • car transport
  • private vehicle allowance
  • private-plated vehicle
  • self-drive (charter) vehicles.1

The basic conditions for travelling by car within each entitlement are outlined in the relevant sections below. Conditions vary, depending on the purpose of the journey and the route taken. If Senators and Members are planning a journey and are unsure whether the mode of transport they wish to use is within entitlement, it is recommended that Senators and Members discuss the matter with their Entitlements Manager before commencing travel.

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4.3.1 Car Transport

Senators and Members are provided with car transport at Australian Government expense, within the limits described below, when travelling for:

  1. parliamentary business
  2. meetings of a Parliamentary political party
  3. meetings of the executive or committees of a Parliamentary political party
  4. the national conference of the political party to which the Senator or Member belongs2
  5. properly constituted meetings of a Government advisory committee or task force (provided that the Senator or Member is a member of the committee or task force)
  6. functions representing a Minister or a Presiding Officer on official business as a Minister or Presiding Officer, provided that the Minister or Presiding Officer nominates the function in advance in a written request to the Senator or Member to represent him or her,3 or
  7. visits in the course of Parliamentary Committee business.4

Limits on the Entitlement

When travelling for the purposes described at items (5) to (7) above, there is no restriction on where car transport is used.

When travelling for all other purposes described above, car transport is provided:

  • for direct travel between home, electorate office or place of business, and the nearest airport or railway station, or the nearest airport or railway station that provides a reasonable service for that journey5
  • in Canberra and locations within a 30 km radius of Parliament House
  • in and between other capital cities and regional centres, except within the city/centre where a Senator or Member resides or has an electorate office
  • between the airport or railway station and the place of overnight accommodation, when a Senator or Member is travelling on parliamentary business to or from Canberra and is required to break the journey.6

Personal Use of Car Transport in Canberra

Car transport may be used in Canberra and locations within a 30 km radius of Parliament House for:

  • personal emergencies such as dental and medical treatment
  • funerals and other compassionate circumstances
  • reasonable personal services such as religious services and banking when these are not available at Parliament House.7

4.3.2 Car-with-Driver Transport

Car-with-driver transport may be provided by:

COMCAR

COMCAR provides a comprehensive service throughout Australia. Depending on vehicle availability, COMCAR may provide Senators and Members with a COMCAR vehicle, private hire car with contracted driver, or taxi.

COMCAR provides a shuttle service that is arranged through the Transport Officers at Parliament House during Parliamentary sitting weeks.

Chauffeured hire cars

Private chauffeured hire cars can be booked through COMCAR or directly from a hire car company offering reasonable commercial rates. COMCAR has established a national panel of chauffeur-driven hire cars and executive taxi contractors that meet particular service standards for use in lieu of COMCAR. At the conclusion of travel in a privately owned chauffeured hire car, the passenger must sign and complete the contractor’s travel docket, including the locations, time and cost of the trip. Where the booking has not been made through COMCAR, a correctly rendered invoice, providing the same details, may be forwarded to Ministerial and Parliamentary Services for payment.

Taxis

Taxis may be booked directly with a taxi company. Payment should generally be made electronically with the Cabcharge card issued by Ministerial and Parliamentary Services, which will record details of the trip. Only in exceptional circumstances should a Cabcharge manual docket be used.  If payment is made by means other than the Cabcharge card EFTPOS facility, then at the conclusion of travel, the passenger must sign and complete the driver’s docket including the locations, time and cost of the trip or obtain a receipt with the relevant details.

Regulated ridesharing services

Ridesharing is a service that arranges one-time shared rides at very short notice, generally using a mobile phone application. A customer arranges a ride with a driver who uses their personal car to provide paid transportation.

The use of rideshare services under the parliamentary entitlements framework is only available in those jurisdictions that have regulated their use. Use of rideshare services in jurisdictions that have not regulated ridesharing is not within entitlement.

Reimbursement for the use of regulated rideshare services may be claimed by submitting a claim for minor travel expenses (Form 51) to Ministerial and Parliamentary Services.

Conditions of Car-with-Driver transport

In addition to the general conditions described in section 4.3.1, the following conditions apply to car-with-driver transport:

  • A Senator or Member who is travelling by car transport between the airport and his or her home may break the journey at his or her electorate office, for parliamentary or electorate purposes only.  If the Senator or Member expects the break in the journey to be longer than half an hour, the car must be released immediately and another ordered to complete the journey at a later time.8
  • A Senator or Member who uses car-with-driver transport to travel on Parliamentary business in Canberra, between their residence and Parliament House, may break the journey.  If the Senator or Member expects the break in the journey to be longer than half an hour, the car must be released immediately and another ordered to complete the journey at a later time.9

4.3.3 Short-Term Self-Drive Hire Cars

Short-term self-drive hire cars may be used when travelling:

  • on Parliamentary business and certain party business for direct travel between a Senator or Member’s home base, electorate office or place of business and the nearest airport or railway station10
  • on Parliamentary business and certain party business in Canberra, within a 30 km radius of Parliament House subject to certain conditions (as discussed in section 4.3.4 of this handbook11
  • on Parliamentary business and certain party business in and between capital cities and regional centres, except within the city in which the Senator or Member resides or has an electorate office12
  • on visits in the course of Parliamentary Committee business13
  • to and from properly constituted meetings of a Government advisory committee or task force (provided that the Senator or Member is a member of the committee or task force),14 or
  • to and from functions representing a Minister or a Presiding Officer on official business as a Minister or Presiding Officer, provided that the Minister or Presiding Officer nominates the function in advance in a written request to the Senator or Member to represent him or her.15

Additionally, Senators and Members who are provided with an electorate charter travel budget, may use their entitlement to hire a short-term self-drive hire car for travel within and for the service of the electorate, but not in metropolitan areas of capital cities.16

Booking and Payment

Short-term self-drive hire cars can be booked with the contracted travel service provider who bills Ministerial and Parliamentary Services directly.

Alternatively, a Senator or Member may book a short-term self-drive hire car through a hire-car company. However, unless an arrangement is in place to enable Ministerial and Parliamentary Services to be forwarded an account for payment, the Senator or Member may be required to pay in advance and seek reimbursement.

Where a Senator or Member is provided with an electorate charter travel budget, and the purpose of the self-drive car hire is for travel within and for the service of the electorate, an Electorate Charter Certification form (Form 37) should be submitted to Ministerial and Parliamentary Services.17

Insurance Cover When Travelling in Self-Drive Hire Cars

A Senator or Member is responsible for ensuring that he or she is adequately covered for any liability that might arise as a result of property damage or accident or injury to him or herself or to a third party. When hiring a car, an insurance policy suitable for the circumstances of the hire should be purchased.  Ministerial and Parliamentary Services pays the cost of this insurance, provided it forms part of the total cost of hiring the vehicle. Payment of an excess charged by an insurer in the case of an accident cannot be met from this entitlement. The cost of an excess charged may be recoverable under the travel insurance arranged for Senators and Members. Senators and Members should be mindful of this limitation in selecting the appropriate insurance cover for a hired vehicle.

4.3.4 Using Short-term Self-Drive Hire Cars in Canberra

A Senator or Member may hire a short-term self-drive vehicle for travel in Canberra and locations within a 30 km radius of Parliament House subject to the following conditions.18

Hire Period

A short-term self-drive vehicle may not be used during parliamentary sitting weeks. For the purposes of Senators and Members’ entitlements to car transport, a ‘parliamentary sitting week’ means a week that contains at least one parliamentary business day. ‘Parliamentary business day’ means a day when either House of Parliament is sitting in Canberra or a day when a Parliamentary Committee of which the Senator or Member is a member is meeting in Canberra.19

A short-term self-drive vehicle may be used between and including the last business day of a parliamentary sitting week and the first business day of the next parliamentary sitting week if the two parliamentary sitting weeks are adjacent.20

Collection and Return of Vehicle

The vehicle may be collected at any time after midday on the last business day of the week and must be returned before midday on the first business day of the following week.21 If the vehicle is collected or returned outside the entitled period, a proportional amount will be recovered from the Senator or Member for use outside the period.

Type of Vehicle

Senators and Members may hire any vehicle with a rate of hire less than or equal to the rate of hire for the ‘people-mover’ class of vehicle, which means a vehicle that seats between six and eight persons.22

Use by Others

Other persons may drive the hired vehicle so long as the person or persons concerned are nominated as drivers with the hire car service provider at the time of hire.23

Use of Car-with-Driver Services while hiring a Short-term Self-drive Vehicle in Canberra

A Senator or Member provided with a short-term self-drive hire vehicle in Canberra may not use COMCAR, the Transport Officers of Parliament House, a commercial car-with-driver service or a taxi during the period of the hire except if it would be appropriate to do so because special circumstances exist.  Examples of ‘special circumstances’ are:

  • attending a vice-regal, Parliamentary, diplomatic or official function, or
  • for security or safety reasons.24

Private Use

A Senator or Member provided with a short-term self-drive vehicle for travel in Canberra on a weekend may also use the vehicle for private purposes.  In such cases, the Australian Government meets the cost of the hire and the Senator or Member must meet the fuel costs.25 Provided all fuel costs are met by the hiring Senator or Member, a vehicle being used for private purposes may be taken further than 30km from Parliament House.

Invoices should be certified to indicate the reason for use, for example:

  • used for Parliamentary purposes only, or
  • used for Parliamentary and private purposes (for which all fuel costs will be met personally).

Footnotes

1  Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

2  Clause 4.1 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

3  Clauses 4.2 and 3.2 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

4  Clause 4.1(d) of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

5  Clauses 4.1(a) and 4.10 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

6  Clause 4.12 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

7  Clause 4.3 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

8  Clause 4.11 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

9  Clause (1) (a) of Section 5 of Procedural Rule No. 1 of 2015 – Car Transport.

10 Clause (1) of Section 4 of Procedural Rule No 1 of 2015 – Car Transport

11 Clauses 4.1 (b) of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04; and Section 6 of Procedural Rule No 1 of 2015 – Car Transport

12 Clauses 4.1 (c) of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

13 Clauses 4.1 (d) of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

14 Clauses 3.2 (a) and 4/2 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

15 Clauses 3.2 (b) and 4.2 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

16 Clause 7.1 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

17 Clause 3 (1) of Procedural Rule No 4 of 2005 – Charter Transport

18 Clause 4.1(b) of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04 and section 4(1) of Procedural Rule No. 1 of 2012 – Car Transport.

19 Section 3 of Procedural Rule No. 1 of 2015 – Car Transport.

20 Section 6 of Procedural Rule No. 1 of 2015 – Car Transport.

21 Section 6(2)(a) of Procedural Rule No. 1 of 2015 – Car Transport.

22 Section 3 of Procedural Rule No. 1 of 2015 – Car Transport.

23 Section 6(2)(b) of Procedural Rule No. 1 of 2015 – Car Transport.

24 Section 5 of Procedural Rule No. 1 of 2015 – Car Transport.

25 Clause 4.7 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.