Part Four Travel - 4.4 Private-Plated Vehicles

4.4 Private-Plated Vehicles

4.4.1 The Provision

A parliamentarian will be provided, at his or her request, with 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 2017/13: Members of Parliament Entitlements
  • Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

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

4.4.2 Ordering a Vehicle

Ministerial and Parliamentary Services provides parliamentarians 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 parliamentarian with the fleet provider and may take some months to fill. It is expected that parliamentarians 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

A parliamentarian 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 parliamentarian ceases to hold office

(whichever occurs first).5

Commonwealth Provided Fuel Cards

The fleet provider issues Commonwealth 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 parliamentarian 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 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. The Commonwealth will not pay for 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 parliamentarian’s monthly management report.

4.4.3 Parking

Where a parliamentarian is undertaking a trip as provided by Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2017/13: Members of Parliament - Entitlements 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, related parking costs up to a maximum value of $240 for each instance are reimbursable.8

Parking costs will be reimbursed on presentation of a completed Claim for Reimbursement of Minor Travel Expenses form (Form 51) and receipts or vouchers.

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

Parliamentarians are personally responsible for traffic and parking fines, penalties and tolls. Parliamentarians are also required to pay the amount of any fee charged to the Commonwealth in connection with fines or penalty notices.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 parliamentarian on whose behalf the vehicle is leased, providing them with a copy of the infringement notice and a statutory declaration form.

If the parliamentarian 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 parliamentarian 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 parliamentarian must be maintained and returned in good condition. To assist with this:

  • scheduled services should be performed when due,
  • any damage should be repaired promptly, in consultation with the contracted vehicle supplier and the vehicle’s insurer,
  • the vehicle should be washed regularly as specified by the manufacturer, 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 2017.12

4.4.6 Return of Vehicles

All vehicles provided to a parliamentarian 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 parliamentarian is no longer a Senator or Member, or
  • the parliamentarian no longer holds an office that carried provision of a private-plated vehicle, or
  • the lease on the vehicle expires.13

A parliamentarian who wishes to purchase the 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 parliamentarian 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 because the vehicle was returned late will be recovered from the parliamentarian as a debt due to the Commonwealth.

It is expected that parliamentarians will retain the vehicle for the entire length of the lease term. In most cases, returning a vehicle some time before the expiry of the lease will incur significant early termination costs. Parliamentarians considering an early vehicle return should contact their Ministerial and Parliamentary Services State Manager in the first instance.

4.4.7 Standard Vehicles – Specific Conditions

The Special Minister of State has approved a list of standard vehicles available to parliamentarians.15

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 parliamentarian 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 is 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 protector
  • cargo barrier
  • carpet mats
  • standard tow pack
  • factory-fitted Bluetooth hands-free mobile phone functionality. Where this is not factory fitted, 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 bar (or similar), driving lights or a kangaroo repellent device where Ministerial and Parliamentary Services considers that a parliamentarian will be using the vehicle in circumstances where collision with kangaroos or other wildlife is likely
  • electronic stability control
  • reverse parking sensors and/or factory-fitted reverse cameras
  • full size steel spare wheel on a vehicle where this is not standard  
  • 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 parliamentarian 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 requirements, workplace health and safety and 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 2017.

Operational Requirements

A case based on operational requirements should demonstrate that, for a significant part of the time spent driving, the use of a standard vehicle would not adequately meet the reasonable requirements of the parliamentarian.22 Generally, a non-standard vehicle will not be provided solely for family reasons. However, if any parliamentarian 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 by the Special Minister of State on its merits.23

Workplace Health and Safety

If a parliamentarian is seeking provision of a non-standard vehicle on the basis of an ongoing 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 parliamentarian intends to replace a non-standard vehicle that is due for replacement with a vehicle of similar type, provided the parliamentarian’s circumstances remain unchanged.26

When requesting a non-standard vehicle, a parliamentarian should provide justification for the standard and type of vehicle sought, including any special features. A parliamentarian is expected to request the lowest priced vehicle (and model within a range) that will meet his or her operational requirements.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 Transport in Large Electorates Yearly Limit or Electorate Allowance

Where a parliamentarian is provided with a non-standard vehicle, his or her yearly limit for transport in large electorates 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, parliamentarians must nominate whether leasing costs are to be met from their yearly limit for transport in large electorates or electorate allowance.32

  • Where the yearly limit for transport in large electorates 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 relevant House department for 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, O’Connor and Parkes) may choose to have a four-wheel drive vehicle instead of the standard vehicle.35 The Member’s yearly limit for transport in large electorates and electorate allowance will not be reduced for this vehicle.36

In addition (to the provision of a standard private-plated vehicle in the electorate, or a non-standard vehicle in the electorate approved by the Special Minister of State), the two Senators for the Northern Territory and Members representing electorates of 300,000 km2 or more will be provided with a second Commonwealth-leased, private-plated, four-wheel drive vehicle, at his or her request.37

Where a parliamentarian is provided with a second four-wheel drive, the amount of his or her yearly limit for transport in large electorates 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 

Selection of a Four-Wheel Drive Vehicle

Parliamentarians who are provided with a four-wheel drive vehicle are expected to select the lowest priced four‑wheel drive vehicle (and model within the range) that will meet their operational requirements.40 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 parliamentarian who selects 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 workplace health and safety reasons.43 A parliamentarian may choose to be provided with a hand-held personal locator beacon instead of an EPIRB.

A parliamentarian 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 workplace health and safety reasons, subject to the approval of the relevant Ministerial and Parliamentary Services State Manager.44

Contacts

Contact telephone numbers for the following services are available to parliamentarians 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 parliamentarian is temporarily unavailable due to exceptional circumstances (such as a natural disaster), on request to Ministerial and Parliamentary Services a parliamentarian may be provided with a short-term hire car, with fuel cards, for the period that the private‑plated vehicle is unavailable.45

Footnotes

1  Clauses 6.1 and 6.3 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2017/13: Members of Parliament - Entitlements.

2  Clause 5.1, Guidelines on the Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017

4  Clause 5.2, Guidelines on the Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017

5  Clause 5.4 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

6  Clause 11 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

7  Clause 8.2 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

8   Clause 5.3 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2017/13: Members of Parliament - Entitlements.

9  Clauses 9 and 10 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

10  Clause 8.1 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

11  Clause 8.3 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

12  Clause 8.4 of, and the Attachment to, the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

13 Clause 7.1 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

14 Clause 7.2 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

15 Clause 6.1(a) of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2017/13: Members of Parliament - Entitlements and Clause 3.1 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

17 Clause 4.3 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

18 Clause 5.3 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

19 Clause 5.5 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

20 Clause 6.1(b) of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2017/13: Members of Parliament - Entitlements.

21 Clause 13.1 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

22 Clause 14.1 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

23 Clause 14.3 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

24 Clause 15 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

25 Clause 16 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

26 Clause 17.4 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

27 Clause 17.1 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

28 Clause 17.3 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

29 Clause 17.2 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

30 Clause 6.1(b) of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2017/13: Members of Parliament - Entitlements.

31 Clause 19 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

32 Clause 18.1 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

33 Clause 18.3 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

34 Clause 18.4 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

35 Clause 6.1(c) of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2017/13: Members of Parliament - Entitlements and Clause 3.3 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

36 Clause 3.3 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

37 Clause 6.1(d) of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2017/13: Members of Parliament - Entitlements.

38 Clause 6.1(d) of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2017/13: Members of Parliament - Entitlements.

39 Clause 6.3 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2017/13: Members of Parliament - Entitlements.

40 Clause 3.5 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

41 Clause 3.6 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

42 Clause 8 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

43 Clause 5.6 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

44 Clause 5.7 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.

45 Clause 12 of the Guidelines on Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017.