- The domestic travel arrangements for employees are set out in Determination 2018/5 and/or any determination which supersedes, supplements or amends it (the travel determination). The determination requires that employees may only travel by the most efficient direct route available. While this guideline describes some of the travel arrangements for employees, the travel determination should be consulted as the primary source of travel arrangements.
- All employees must seek the most efficient, effective, economical and ethical use of public money when arranging travel and other commitments, making all reasonable efforts to reduce the overall cost to the Commonwealth.
- Employees must travel in accordance with the travel determination and therefore all reasonable steps are to be taken to ensure, where applicable, that departure and destination travel arrangements are compatible with scheduled transport services.
- Employees are encouraged to investigate communication tools, such as telepresence or teleconferencing, that may be used instead of travelling on official business.
Employee also a spouse, dependent child or nominee
- If an electorate employee may travel as a spouse, dependent child or nominee of a Member:
- travel cannot be undertaken using a combination of entitlements for the trip (from the point of the initial departure until the employee’s return to the point of initial departure); and
- travelling allowance (TA) may only be claimed where the employee travels as an employee.
Note: MOP(S) Act Determination 2013/12, which came into effect on 1 January 2014, prohibits Senators and Members from employing certain family members.
Travel fares – personal and electorate employees
- When arranging domestic travel bookings, employees must use the contracted travel service provider. An online travel booking system is provided to assist in making travel bookings. The online system can be accessed 24 hours a day via the internet and from anywhere in the world. The online system can be used to identify the ‘lowest logical best fare’.
- Where travel bookings cannot be made using the online system, employees can call the contracted travel service provider for assistance.
- Employees should accept the lowest fare offered in accordance with the travel determination, including considering alternative airlines or discounted fares, unless this would adversely impact on the purpose of the travel.
- Employees should avoid booking flexible fares where certainty of travel is known.
- When travelling on official business, employees are required to be mindful of baggage restrictions in accordance with the relevant airline’s guidelines. To claim the reimbursement of charges for carrying excess baggage in accordance with clause 58 of the Enterprise Agreement the employee must provide a receipt and a completed ‘Minor Travel Expenses Reimbursement’ form with certification from the employing Member or authorised person advising that the additional luggage was required for work purposes.
- Employees should be mindful that travel at Commonwealth expense may not be used to obtain personal benefits. Employees cannot ‘offset’ a fare outside the arrangements of the travel determination against a fare within the arrangements of the determination.
For example: a Brisbane based employee cannot travel to Melbourne for personal reasons, then to Canberra for work, and then back to Brisbane at Commonwealth expense. The full cost of travel Brisbane-Melbourne-Canberra would be the responsibility of the employee in this case. The rule also applies where the Brisbane based employee travels to Canberra for work, then to Melbourne for personal reasons, and then back to Brisbane.
Personal Stopovers – personal and electorate employees
- Employees’ travel must be organised to meet Parliamentary, electorate or official business requirements, not personal requirements.
- With the approval of the employing Member, an employee is permitted to make a stopover for personal reasons in the course of travel on official business by the most efficient direct route available, provided:
- the stopover is for a maximum of two nights only;
- no annual leave is taken by an employee as part of the stopover; and
- any additional costs for fares or costs related to the stopover are paid by the employee at the time of booking the travel.
- Employees may only include a personal stopover where travel to the location of departure and destination is in accordance with the travel determination.
- A personal stopover is defined as personal time spent at a location where an employee has been directed to travel on official business or a break in travel at a usual point en route to the final travel destination, e.g. travel from Hobart to Canberra may have a usual stop in Melbourne en route.
For example: a Canberra-based employee travels to Brisbane on official business on Friday. The employee stays in Brisbane on Saturday and Sunday nights and returns on Monday. In this case, the Saturday and Sunday are counted as a personal stopover and return airfare will be covered by the Electorate Support Budget. However, if the employee returns on Tuesday or later, it is at their own expense
- Employees planning to include a personal stopover in their travel must book their travel arrangements through the travel services provider and establish whether any additional costs will be incurred by including a personal stopover. Where there is a cost difference, e.g. between the flight booked and a direct flight or throughfare as appropriate, the employee must pay the cost difference to the travel service provider at the time of booking. To determine whether additional costs have been incurred, the comparison must be between fares of the same class.
- Travel and personal stopovers must not be undertaken outside of the arrangements in the travel determination or the full cost of the fares will be recovered.
- TA is not payable during a personal stopover.
- Cost recovery action will be sought by the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA) if it is determined that a personal benefit has been obtained or a personal stopover, outside of the arrangements in the travel determination, has occurred during the course of approved travel. The employee will be liable for the entire cost of the fare between the point of departure and the final destination.
Class of travel
- Employees may be directed, subject to the travel determination, by their employing Member to travel on official business by scheduled commercial services with an accommodation component such as The Ghan, The Indian-Pacific or The Spirit of Tasmania. Under these arrangements employees will be personally responsible for meeting any travel and related costs (including meals) that are in excess of the limits provided under the travel determination in relation to class of travel.
- Employees are responsible for ensuring that their travel is in accordance with the arrangements in the travel determination at the time of booking and at check in. For example, travel at business class solely on the basis that an economy class seat is not available on a particular flight is outside of the arrangements in the travel determination.
- Any fare considered outside of the arrangements in the travel determination represents a debt to the Commonwealth which will be recovered in accordance with clause 29 of the Enterprise Agreement.
Cabcharge cards for travel by taxi or hire car
- Employees who use taxi or hire car services when travelling on official business will be provided with a Cabcharge card upon request from the employing Member.
Traffic and parking fines – personal and electorate employees
- Employees authorised by the employing Member to use a Commonwealth provided, private or self‑drive hire vehicle for the purpose of official business, will be personally responsible for any traffic or parking fines incurred, including administrative costs where applicable.
Tolls – personal and electorate employees
- Employees authorised by the employing Member to travel on official business may be reimbursed their reasonable toll costs. Receipts for the toll costs must be attached to the claim form.
- Toll costs associated with official business travel of electorate employees will be debited against the Electorate Support Budget.
Car parking costs – personal and electorate employees
- Employees authorised by the employing Member to travel on official business may be reimbursed their reasonable parking costs (e.g. it is generally expected that long-stay parking will be used at an airport). Receipts for the parking costs must be attached to the claim form.
- Parking costs associated with official business travel of electorate employees will be debited against the Electorate Support Budget.
- Employees are not reimbursed for valet parking costs, with the exception of valet parking costs incurred at the accommodation occupied by the employee for travel on official business involving an overnight stay away from their work base.
Travel for training
- Courses in Canberra, arranged by the Department, will be scheduled with consideration given to Parliamentary sitting periods wherever possible.
- Electorate employees may travel to learning and development activities as official business in accordance with the arrangements in the travel determination. The costs for this travel will be debited against the Electorate Support Budget, if applicable.
- The electorate employees of Members who have an electorate office outside the greater metropolitan area of a capital city have access to additional travel to ensure equitable access to training opportunities as set out in the travel determination. Members who have an electorate office outside the greater metropolitan area of a capital city have access to four trips (five trips for electorates with two official electorate offices and six trips for electorates with three official electorate offices) each financial year for employees to travel to their nearest capital city to attend training activities offered through the Professional Development Program or approved ad hoc training and professional development activities, IT training or training for Work Health and Safety roles. A list of the Members whose employees are eligible for these trips is located on the Ministerial and Parliamentary Service website.
- Employees who use the additional travel under paragraph 32 should clearly mark their IPEA Form: Staff Travelling and/or Motor Vehicle Allowance Claim as being for attendance at the relevant type of training to ensure that the costs are not debited against the Electorate Support Budget.
- Employees who are based in the Northern Territory can use the additional travel under paragraph 32 to travel to Adelaide or Brisbane. Employees based in Tasmania can travel to Melbourne.
- Personal employees can travel to learning and development activities as official business in accordance with the arrangements in the travel determination.