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4.6.1 Electorate Charter – the Entitlement

Senators (except Senators from the Australian Capital Territory) are entitled to use charter transport at Australian Government expense within and for the service of their State or Territory. Members representing electorates of 10,000 km2 or more are entitled to use charter transport within and for the service of their electorate.1

The following maximum annual limits for the electorate charter entitlement apply, effective on and from 24 February 2014 for the 2013-2014 financial year and subsequent financial years:2

CHAMBER STATE OR TERRITORY / ELECTORATE MAXIMUM ANNUAL REIMBURSEMENT
Senators Northern Territory* $65,760
  Queensland or Western Australia $26,490
  New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia or Tasmania $14,860
Members 300,000 km2 or more $120,000
  100,000 km2 to 299,999 km2 $38,190
  25,000 km2 to 99,999 km2 $21,160
  10,000 km2 to 24,999 km2 $10,420

Electorate charter entitlement can be used to meet the cost of charter aircraft, self-drive hire cars, taxis or chauffeur-driven hire cars, boats or other means of transport as may be reasonable in the circumstances for travel within and for the service of the electorate. The entitlement includes the hire of an accredited driver, independent of car hire arrangements, to provide relief driving services for a Senator or Member. Family members and personal or electorate employees employed under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 may not provide accredited driver services.3

Senators and Members are entitled to engage or dismiss the charter transport at a place outside their electorate, provided the charter is used for the service of the electorate and within the electorate.4

The electorate charter entitlement does not extend to using taxis or hire cars (including self‑drive hire cars) in the metropolitan areas of capital cities.5 The electorate charter entitlement may not be transferred to another person. The Senator or Member must travel in the vehicle for which the electorate charter entitlement is claimed.

Where a Senator or Member charters an aircraft within and for the service of the electorate, but the charter is used for only one leg of the journey, a charge may be incurred for repositioning the aircraft either back to its origin or to the destination for pick up. If such a cost is incurred, it will be deducted from the Senator or Member’s electorate charter entitlement.

If a Senator or Member charters an aircraft or vehicle for the purpose of providing service to the electorate he or she may be accompanied at no cost, by:

  • his or her spouse
  • his or her staff, and/or
  • other Senators or Members.6

In addition, provided a more expensive charter aircraft/vehicle is not required, the Senator or Member may be accompanied by other persons. An amount covering costs of travel by the other accompanying passenger(s) will be recovered from the passengers, or their employing organisation,7 with some exceptions as noted below.

The amount to be recovered from an accompanying passenger is the scheduled commercial economy class fare equivalent, or the notional ‘pro rata’ cost of the passenger’s travel, if that is less than the scheduled service fare or there is no scheduled commercial service. The pro rata cost is calculated separately for each part of the travel, with the total cost of each part of the travel divided by the number of people who used the mode of transport for that part of the travel.8 Passengers are to be informed of, and agree to, any cost implications at the time they are invited to accompany the Senator or Member on charter transport. The Senator or Member will be responsible for the cost of accompanying passengers where the Senator or Member fails to obtain consent to the acceptance of costs by each accompanying passenger.

A Senator or Member may certify that one of the following conditions applies and cost recovery from an accompanying passenger will not be pursued:9
CONDITION DISCUSSION
The accompanying passenger’s presence is relevant to the purpose of the travel undertaken under the electorate charter entitlement (which is within and for the service of the electorate). This condition would be satisfied if the passenger’s travel can be seen to have a reasonable connection with the purposes of the Senator or Member’s travel.  However, mere attendance at the same function would not, in itself, satisfy the condition.
The accompanying passenger’s travel was for compassionate reasons. The reasons would need to be related to a sufficiently serious situation of another person or persons, in order to be described as compassionate.
The accompanying passenger’s travel was for public interest reasons. The interests of the public as a whole, rather than the interests of a particular individual or individuals, would need to be advanced to satisfy this condition.
The accompanying passenger’s travel enabled the Senator or Member to be accompanied by his or her dependent children under 25 years of age.  

The decision as to whether one of the conditions applies is a matter for the judgement of the Senator or Member and must pass the test of public defensibility.

Senators and Members receive monthly management reports to help them monitor expenditure against this entitlement.

Funds administered through Ministerial and Parliamentary Services are paid to suppliers on the basis of invoices certified by the Senator or Member.  Invoices are payable only to the limit of the electorate charter entitlement. Any expenditure on charter services beyond the quantum of the electorate charter entitlement is the personal responsibility of the Senator or Member concerned.  If an overpayment occurs it will be recovered from the Senator or Member as a debt due to the Commonwealth.

4.6.2 Electorate Charter – Certification

A Senator or Member must complete an Electorate Charter Certification form (Form 37) on each occasion when he or she accesses their electorate charter entitlement.10

4.6.3 Carry Forward of Electorate Charter Entitlement

A Senator or Member may carry forward, from one financial year to the next, up to 20 per cent of the unused electorate charter entitlement of the previous year.11 For the convenience of Senators and Members, any unused amount (up to the 20 per cent limit) is automatically carried over to the following financial year.

4.6.4 Charter in Lieu of Scheduled Commercial Services

Charter transport used in lieu of scheduled commercial services is not charged against the Senator or Member’s electorate charter entitlement. However, where charter transport is used in lieu of scheduled commercial services, the Senator or Member must pay for any additional cost as between the charter transport and the estimated reimbursement cost of private vehicle allowance at the highest Australian Public Service rate then current for the most reasonable and usual route between the departure and destination points.12

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4.6.5 Special Charter

The Special Minister of State may approve the use of charter transport within Australia in special cases, e.g., where there are no scheduled commercial services or where the use of scheduled commercial services would result in undue delays.13 A Senator or Member wishing to use charter transport in such circumstances should obtain the approval of the Special Minister of State, before travel is undertaken.

This entitlement does not extend to the use of charter transport for purposes which are covered by the entitlement provided to a Senator or Member for charter within and for the service of their electorate.14

For each occasion that a Senator or Member is accompanied by a passenger on a special charter service, the Senator or Member is required to submit route and passenger details to Ministerial and Parliamentary Services, using the Special Charter Certification form (Form 122).

Where a passenger has an existing travel entitlement, the relevant entitlement will be debited. If a passenger does not have an existing entitlement, an invoice for cost recovery will be issued. The amount to be recovered from an accompanying passenger is the lesser of motor vehicle allowance which would have been payable for the most practical and reasonable route for the journey, or the notional ‘pro rata’ cost of the passenger’s travel. The pro rata cost is calculated separately for each part of the travel, with the total cost of each part of the travel divided by the number of people who used the mode of transport for that part of the travel.

Passengers are to be informed of, and agree to, any cost implications at the time they are invited to accompany the Senator or Member on charter transport.  The Senator or Member will be responsible for the cost of accompanying passengers where the Senator or Member fails to obtain consent to the acceptance of costs by each accompanying passenger.

4.6.6 Booking Charter Transport

All charter services, except for electorate charter, must be booked using the contracted travel service provider.

For electorate charter, arrangements can be made via the contracted travel service provider or directly with a charter transport provider. If making arrangements directly, the account should be sent by the charter transport provider to the Senator or Member’s electorate office and attached to the electorate charter certification form (Form 37).

When cars are booked directly with a charter transport provider, the normal advertised daily hire rates apply. Vehicles are provided on a daily hire basis including fixed kilometres or unlimited kilometres, with or without fuel. Where a fuel card is provided as part of the hire, a per kilometre rate will be charged whether the car is returned full of petrol or not.

Senators and Members may be required to pay the account with the charter transport company and seek reimbursement from Ministerial and Parliamentary Services. Ministerial and Parliamentary Services will pay the account on provision of the invoice and entitlement form (Form 37).

Long-term Hire of Vehicles

Vehicles may be hired under the electorate charter entitlement on a long‑term basis from private firms, provided the arrangement is for hire only, with no residual equity in the vehicle accruing to the hirer. The electorate charter entitlement may not be used to hire a vehicle on a long-term basis for use in the metropolitan areas of capital cities.15 Senators and Members are entitled to engage or dismiss the long-term hire car at a place outside their electorate, provided that the purpose of the long-term hire-car is for the service of the electorate within the electorate.16

Fuel Costs

The cost of fuel used in hire cars can be charged against the relevant charter entitlement. Receipts for fuel purchases should be forwarded to Ministerial and Parliamentary Services for reimbursement.

4.6.7 COMCAR

Senators and Members may use COMCAR for journeys against their electorate charter entitlement. All costs relating to the hire will be charged against the Senator or Member’s electorate charter entitlement.

4.6.8 Insurance Cover when Travelling in Chartered Transport

When accessing any entitlement to charter transport, a Senator or Member is responsible for ensuring the arrangement with the charter operator includes adequate coverage for any liability which might arise as a result of property damage, or accident or injury to the Senator or Member or to a third party.

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Footnotes

1  Clause 7.2 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

2  Clause 7.2 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

3  Clause 7.1 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

4  Clause 7.3 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

5  Clause 7.1 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

6  Clause 7.5 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

7  Clauses 7.7 and 7.8 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

8  Clause 4 (2) of Procedural Rule No 4 of 2005 – Charter Transport.

9  Clause 7.9 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

10 Clause 3 of Procedural Rule No. 4 of 2005 – Charter Transport.

11 Clause 7.4 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

12 Clause 3.3(a) of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

13 Clause 3.4 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

14 Clause 3.4 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04.

15 Clause 7.1 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04

16 Clause 7.3 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2012/04

 

© Commonwealth of Australia 2010 | ABN 61970 632 495
Last Modified: 28 April, 2017