4.4.1 The Entitlement

A Senator or Member is entitled, at his or her request, to a private-plated, Commonwealth-leased vehicle for Parliamentary, electorate or official business, family travel and private purposes, but not for commercial purposes.1

Private-plated vehicles are provided subject to the conditions set out in:

  • Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04
  • Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

Vehicles are leased through a whole-of-government fleet provider and serviced, maintained and fuelled at Australian Government expense.

4.4.2 Ordering a Vehicle

Ministerial and Parliamentary Services provides Senators and Members with a Request for Lease Quote (Fleet Management Agreement) form to be completed when ordering a vehicle. Vehicle orders are placed on behalf of the Senator or Member with the fleet provider and may take some months to fill. It is expected that Senators and Members will retain the vehicle for the entire length of the lease term. When determining the term of a lease, Ministerial and Parliamentary Services examines the projected usage of the vehicle (i.e. the number of kilometres (km) likely to be driven), as well as factors such as the warranty provided for the vehicle and the local road and weather conditions. The lease terms will be reviewed regularly against these projections and may be adjusted to ensure the lease achieves value for money. Lease periods are typically between two and three years.

Optional Extras

Requests for optional extras to be added to a vehicle should only be made at the time the vehicle order is placed. Optional extras that can be fitted by the vehicle’s dealer, that were overlooked at the time the vehicle was ordered, may only be added until the time of the vehicle’s first scheduled service.2 Senators and Members may, at no additional cost, have car kits fitted to their private-plated vehicles to facilitate the safe use of mobile telephones, smartphones and/or satellite telephones that have been provided under entitlement.3

A Senator or Member wishing to add dealer-fitted optional extras after the original order is placed must discuss the matter with the relevant Ministerial and Parliamentary Services State Manager. This will allow the State Manager to make arrangements with the contracted vehicle supplier and ensure that the fitting dealer is given the required advance notice.4

All optional extras included in the cost of the lease must be kept with the vehicle, and returned with the vehicle:

  • at the end of the vehicle lease
  • after the vehicle is written off in an accident, or
  • when the Senator or Member ceases to hold office

(whichever occurs first).5

Australian Government Provided Fuel Cards

The fleet provider issues Australian Government funded fuel cards for use with private-plated vehicles. Odometer readings are required when using the fuel cards, to assist with vehicle management and to ensure that fuel bills can be matched to vehicle use.

Where fuel stations do not have provision for electronic recordings of odometer readings, a receipt should be obtained and the reading recorded on the receipt. The receipt should be forwarded to the relevant Ministerial and Parliamentary Services State Manager. Failure to provide odometer readings will lead to the Senator or Member concerned being asked to certify accounts for payment personally.  Repeated failure may lead to the cancellation of the fuel cards.6

The fuel card should be used for payment where possible. If unforeseen circumstances (for example, technical failure) require that fuel costs are paid for privately, reimbursement can be sought for the costs by completing an Invoice Certification and Request for Reimbursement – PPV and Other form (Form 146) and returning it to the relevant Ministerial and Parliamentary Services State Manager. Relevant receipts and odometer readings are to be attached to the form.

Fuel cards may be used to pay for standard car-washing services connected to a fuel station. A Senator or Member is not entitled to valet car-washing services.7

Fuel cards must be kept in a secure place when not in use. Fuel cards must not be used for any other vehicle.

Details of fuel payments are provided in each Senator and Member’s monthly management report.

View in Summary

4.4.3 Parking at a Terminus

Where a Senator or Member is undertaking a trip under an entitlement provided by Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04 from an airport, railway station, or similar point of embarkation (a ‘terminus’) and uses his or her private-plated vehicle to drive to the terminus, the Senator or Member is entitled to reimbursement of related parking costs up to a maximum value of $240 for each instance.8

Where a Senator or Member parks his or her private-plated vehicle at a terminus under the entitlement described above, his or her commercial parking costs will be reimbursed on presentation of a completed Claim for Reimbursement of Minor Travel Expenses form (Form 51) and receipts or vouchers, up to a maximum value of $240 for each instance. Claims should be forwarded to Ministerial and Parliamentary Services for processing and payment.

For access to parking at Parliament House, Senators should contact the Office of the Usher of the Black Rod and Members should contact the Office of the Serjeant-at-Arms.

4.4.4 Traffic and Parking Fines and Tolls

Senators and Members are personally responsible for traffic and parking fines and tolls.9

In some circumstances, infringement notices in respect of private-plated vehicles are initially issued to the fleet provider. The fleet provider will contact the Senator or Member on whose behalf the vehicle is leased, providing them with a copy of the infringement notice and a statutory declaration form. If the Senator or Member was not the driver of the vehicle at the time of the infringement, the statutory declaration form should be completed and returned to the issuing authority to identify the driver. The Senator or Member is personally responsible for payment of any fine specified on the infringement notice, other than where a statutory declaration has been returned to the issuing authority identifying another person as the driver of the vehicle at the time of the infringement.

4.4.5 Vehicle Condition

All vehicles provided to a Senator or Member must be maintained and returned in good condition. To assist with this, scheduled services must be performed when due, any damage repaired promptly, in consultation with the contracted vehicle supplier and the vehicle’s insurer, and any theft or malicious damage involving the vehicle must be reported to police.10

Returning an end-of-lease vehicle in a sound, serviceable condition assists in ensuring that the Commonwealth does not incur additional charges, and achieves the best possible sale price at disposal of the vehicle. When assessing a vehicle’s condition at the end of its lease term, the contracted vehicle supplier takes into account any deterioration in the vehicle’s overall condition that is considered fair wear and tear for the distances travelled and the age of the vehicle. Unfair wear and tear is any deterioration judged as unacceptable against industry standards that may require refurbishment prior to sale.11

A summary of guidance on industry fair wear and tear standards, reproduced, with permission, from the Fair Wear and Tear Guide produced in 2005 by the Australian Fleet Lessors Association (AFLA) is attached to the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.12

4.4.6 Return of Vehicles

All vehicles provided to a Senator or Member by Ministerial and Parliamentary Services must be returned immediately to Ministerial and Parliamentary Services (or an authorised agent acting on behalf of either Ministerial and Parliamentary Services or the contracted vehicle supplier), when:

  • the Senator or Member’s entitlement to that vehicle ceases, because they:
    • are no longer a Senator or Member, or
    • no longer hold an office that carries an entitlement to a private-plated vehicle, or
  • the lease on the vehicle expires.13

A Senator or Member who wishes to purchase a vehicle after its lease has expired, or where its lease is due to expire shortly, should make arrangements directly with the contracted vehicle supplier. A Senator or Member who is negotiating the purchase of a vehicle with the contracted vehicle supplier:

  • is personally responsible for all associated costs
  • must return the vehicle immediately when its lease expires, regardless of the progress of the purchase negotiations.14

Where a vehicle that is due for return is not returned immediately, any costs that are incurred by Ministerial and Parliamentary Services because the vehicle was returned late will be recovered from the Senator or Member as a debt due to the Commonwealth.

4.4.7 Standard Vehicles – Specific Conditions

A list of standard vehicles available to Senators and Members has been approved.15

A Senator or Member may choose any vehicle from the list of standard vehicles and optional extras, subject to a price cap determined from time-to-time by the Special Minister of State.16 When selecting a vehicle, Senators and Members are asked to be mindful of the cost to the taxpayer, and to choose a vehicle that meets their operational needs.17

Optional Extras on Standard Vehicles

Where the cost of optional extras brings the total value of the vehicle above the price cap, the Senator or Member is required to pay the difference by way of a lump sum payment at the time the final contract supplement for the vehicle is issued. Where, due to unforeseen circumstances, an optional extra is added after the time the final contract supplement for the vehicle is issued, but no later than the vehicle’s first scheduled service, any additional payment must be made at the time of fitting.18

The cost of the following optional extras is not taken into account when determining the total value of the vehicle:

  • automatic transmission
  • bonnet protectors
  • cargo barriers
  • carpet mats
  • reverse parking sensors and/or factory-fitted reverse cameras
  • standard tow pack
  • electronic stability control
  • full size steel spare wheels on vehicles where these are not standard
  • factory-fitted Bluetooth hands-free mobile phone functionality (where this is provided as an optional extra, a separate hands-free mobile phone car kit will not be installed after delivery of the vehicle, but additions such as an external aerial may be added)
  • bull bars (or similar), driving lights or kangaroo repellent devices where Ministerial and Parliamentary Services considers that a Senator or Member will be using the vehicle in circumstances where collision with kangaroos or other wildlife is likely
  • first-aid kit.19

A reverse parking sensor or camera, a full sized spare wheel and a first aid kit will automatically be included with all private-plated vehicles where this is possible.

4.4.8 Non-Standard Vehicles – Specific Conditions

A Senator or Member may seek approval for the lease of a non-standard vehicle.20 Factors that will be taken into account in considering applications for a non-standard vehicle are: operational need, work health and safety or environmental concerns.21 Detailed information about the provision of non-standard vehicles is provided in the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

Operational Needs

A case based on operational needs should demonstrate that, for a significant part of the time spent driving, the use of a standard sedan or station wagon would not adequately meet the reasonable requirements of the Senator or Member.22 Generally, a non-standard vehicle will not be provided solely for family reasons. However, if any Senator or Member considers that he or she has compelling reasons to seek a non-standard vehicle (or modifications to a standard vehicle) to meet their family circumstances, the case will be considered on its merits.23

Work Health and Safety

If a Senator or Member is seeking provision of a non-standard vehicle on the basis of a continuing medical condition, the request should be accompanied by advice from a medical practitioner supporting the case.24

Environmental Considerations

A case for provision of a non-standard vehicle on the basis of environmental considerations should be accompanied by documentary evidence demonstrating the non-standard vehicle’s environmental superiority. This material should demonstrate that the vehicle:

  • is powered by alternative fuel sources (such as electric power) or a hybrid engine (powered by a combination of fuel sources)
  • has an increased fuel efficiency and/or a decrease in emissions as a result.25

Requesting a Non-standard Vehicle

An initial request for a non-standard vehicle should be submitted in writing to Ministerial and Parliamentary Services. A formal request for a non-standard vehicle is not required when a Senator or Member intends to replace a non-standard vehicle that is due for replacement with a vehicle of similar type, provided the Senator or Member’s circumstances remain unchanged.26

When requesting a non-standard vehicle, a Senator or Member should provide justification for the standard and type of vehicle sought, including any special features. A Senator or Member is expected to request the lowest priced vehicle (and model within a range) that could suit his or her needs.27 A request may be made at the time a Senator is appointed or commences duties (whichever is the later), or a Member is elected. Otherwise, it generally would be expected that a non-standard vehicle would only be provided at the time an existing leased vehicle is due for replacement.28

Non-standard vehicles such as sports cars, coupés or high performance vehicles are unlikely to be approved.29

The conditions relating to use and maintenance of the non-standard vehicle are the same as for standard vehicles.

Adjustment to Electorate Charter Entitlement or Electorate Allowance

Where a Senator or Member is provided with a non-standard vehicle, his or her charter transport entitlement or electorate allowance will be reduced by the difference between the lease cost of a non-standard vehicle and the lease cost of a standard vehicle.30

Any difference between the lease cost of a non-standard vehicle and the lease cost of a standard vehicle is determined when the final contract supplement for the lease is issued, and remains fixed for the term of the vehicle’s lease. Ministerial and Parliamentary Services State Managers are able to provide indicative costs only, prior to the issue of the final contract supplement. The lease cost difference is recalculated each time an approved non‑standard vehicle is replaced.31

When seeking approval to lease a non-standard vehicle and when an approved non-standard vehicle is replaced, Senators and Members must nominate whether leasing costs are to be met from their charter transport entitlement or electorate allowance.32 Where the charter transport entitlement is nominated, the full difference between the lease cost of a non-standard vehicle and lease cost of a standard vehicle will be deducted.33 Where the electorate allowance is nominated, arrangements will be made with the respective Parliamentary departments for the deductions to be made monthly.34

4.4.9 Four-wheel Drive Vehicles - Specific Conditions

Members Representing Large Electorates (300,000 km2 or more)

Members representing electorates of 300,000 km2 or more (Durack, Grey, Kennedy, Lingiari, Maranoa and O’Connor) may choose to have a four-wheel drive vehicle instead of the standard sedan or station wagon.35 The Member’s charter transport entitlement and electorate allowance will not be reduced.36

In addition, the two Senators for the Northern Territory and Members representing electorates of 300,000 km2 or more (Durack, Grey, Kennedy, Lingiari, Maranoa and O’Connor) will be provided with a second Commonwealth-leased, private-plated, four-wheel drive vehicle, at his or her request.37 This entitlement is in addition to the provision of the Commonwealth-leased, private-plated vehicle in the electorate to which all Senators and Members are entitled, including those who have already obtained approval from the Special Minister of State for a non-standard vehicle in the electorate.

Where a Senator or Member is provided with a second four-wheel drive, the amount of his or her charter transport entitlement or electorate allowance is reduced by the lease cost of the four-wheel drive vehicle.38 The four-wheel drive vehicle may be used for Parliamentary, electorate or official business, family travel and private purposes but not for commercial purposes.39 

Accessing the Entitlement

Senators and Members who are provided with a four-wheel drive vehicle under Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04 are expected to select the lowest priced four‑wheel drive vehicle (and model within the range) that will meet their operational requirements.40 The vehicle is to be made in Australia. Where there is no operationally suitable Australian-made vehicle, a Senator or Member may select a vehicle that has been imported by an Australian manufacturer, limited to Ford Motor Company of Australia Ltd, GM Holden Ltd and the Toyota Motor Corporation Australia Ltd.41 Senators and Members will be informed if there are any changes to this list of manufacturers. Vehicles are ordered through Ministerial and Parliamentary Services State Managers in the same way as other private-plated vehicles.

Running and Maintenance Costs

The arrangements for running and maintenance costs for the additional four-wheel drive vehicle are the same as for other private-plated vehicles.42

Safety Equipment

A Senator or Member who is entitled to a four-wheel drive vehicle may be provided, on request to their Ministerial and Parliamentary Services State Manager, with a satellite telephone service and/or an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) in the vehicle for safety reasons.43 A Senator or Member entitled to an EPIRB may choose to be provided with a hand-held personal locator beacon instead.

A Senator or Member provided with a private-plated vehicle, other than a four-wheel drive, may be provided with a satellite telephone service and/or an EPIRB, for work health and safety reasons, subject to approval by the relevant Ministerial and Parliamentary Services State Manager.44

Contacts

Contact telephone numbers for the following services are available to Senators, Members and their employees from the Ministerial and Parliamentary Services help desks:

  • roadside, accident and breakdown services
  • Parliament House parking
  • Whole of Government Fleet Provider
  • Office of the Usher of the Black Rod
  • Office of the Serjeant-at-Arms.

4.4.10 Exceptional Circumstances

Where a private‑plated vehicle provided to a Senator or Member is temporarily unavailable due to exceptional circumstances (such as a natural disaster), on request a Senator or Member may be provided with a short-term hire car and fuel cards for the period that the private‑plated vehicle is unavailable.45

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Footnotes

1  Clauses 6.1 and 6.7 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

2  Clause 5.1, Guidelines on the Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012

3  Clauses 5.5 and 5.8, Guidelines on the Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012

4  Clause 5.2, Guidelines on the Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012

5  Clause 5.4 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

6  Clause 11 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

7  Clause 8.2 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

8   Clause 5.3 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

9  Clauses 9 and 10 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

10  Clause 8.1 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

11  Clause 8.3 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

12  Clause 8 of, and the Attachment to, the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

13 Clause 7.1 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

14 Clause 7.2 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

15 Clause 3.1 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

16 Clause 3 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

17 Clause 4.3 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

18 Clause 5.3 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

19 Clause 5.5 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

20 Clause 6.2 of Remuneration Determination 2012/04.

21 Clause 13.1 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

22 Clause 14.1 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

23 Clause 14.4 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

24 Clause 15 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

25 Clause 16 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

26 Clause 17.4 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

27 Clause 17.1 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

28 Clause 17.3 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

29 Clause 17.2 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

30 Clause 6.5 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

31 Clause 19 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

32 Clause 18.1 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

33 Clause 18.3 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

34 Clause 18.4 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

35 Clause 6.1(c) of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

36 Clause 3.5 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

37 Clause 6.4 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

38 Clause 6.6 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

39 Clause 6.7 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

40 Clause 3.5 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

41 Clause 3.6 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

42 Clause 8 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

43 Clause 5.6 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

44 Clause 5.7 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

45 Clause 12 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2012.

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Last Modified: 20 October, 2015