Changes to the Parliamentary Work Expenses Framework since 1 January 2017

This page provides details of recent changes to the parliamentary work expenses framework, including those resulting from implementation of recommendations from the 2016 review into An Independent Parliamentary Entitlements System Review (Review).

Updated Travelling Allowance Rates (Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2017/16)

  • From 27 August 2017, Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2017/16 Members of Parliament - Travelling Allowance provides for new rates of travelling allowance payable within Australia for Parliamentarians and Office Holders.
  • The Canberra travelling allowance rate payable to Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 employees, which is linked to the Canberra rate payable to Parliamentarians, will also increase.

Updated Private-Plated Vehicle Arrangements (Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2017/13)

  • From 1 July 2017, Part 6 of Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2017/13 Members of Parliament - Entitlements provides that standard private plated vehicles (PPVs) are no longer required to be Australian-made. PPVs may be up to the value of the luxury car tax threshold for non-fuel efficient vehicles as determined by the Australian Taxation Office.
  • Ministerial Circular 2017/07 provides updated Guidelines for Provision of Private-Plated Vehicles for Senators and Members 2017 and an updated List of Standard Vehicles.

Updated Travel Related Provisions (Remuneration Tribunal Determination 2017/13)

From 1 July 2017, updated arrangements apply to the following travel related provisions of the Determination (Ministerial Circular 2017/08):

This implements Review recommendation 18.

  • Transport in large electorates (formerly ‘electorate charter’) – Part 7 now provides greater discretion and flexibility concerning transport in large electorates (formerly called electorate charter). The restriction on accredited driver services being provided by family members or staff has been removed, as has the limitation that ‘other persons’ can accompany a Senator or Member only when a more expensive charter vehicle is not required. However, cost recovery continues to apply with respect to passengers other than family, staff and other parliamentarians. This implements Review recommendation 12.
  • Canberra and intra-state family reunion travel – the calculation of the annual budget for Canberra and intra-state family reunion travel, under clause 3.13, is now by reference to three economy class return airfares to Canberra (replacing business class). This implements Review recommendation 17.
  • Definition of dependent child – adopts the definition from the Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017  as a person who is:
    • under 16 and for whom the parliamentarian is legally responsible (whether alone or jointly with another person) for the day-to-day care, welfare and development of the person; or
    • at least 16 and less than 18 and who is financially dependent on the parliamentarian; or
    • over 18, financially dependent on the parliamentarian and is, and has been continuously, undertaking secondary education.
  • Inter-state family reunion travel – clause 3.17A extends the additional inter-state travel to a spouse, nominee or designated person providing support to a parliamentarian who is the mother of a dependent child up to 12 months of age (previously only available to support a breastfeeding parliamentarian). This implements Review recommendation 20.
  • Reduction in post-retirement travel – post-retirement travel under Part 9 has been retained to allow former parliamentarians to ‘wind up’ their Canberra and electorate offices, but is reduced to three economy class return trips within three months after retirement from the Parliament. This implements Review recommendation 21. Part 8 has also been updated to reflect the replacement of Life Gold Pass with parliamentary retirement travel for retired former Prime Ministers.

Employees under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984

  • The Commonwealth Members of Parliament Staff Enterprise Agreement 2016-2019 commenced operation on 19 April 2017, replacing the previous Enterprise Agreement. The Enterprise Agreement provides three salary increases of 2 per cent per annum and the ordinary hours of full-time employees increased to 38 hours per week. Further information is available in Departmental Circular 2017/03.

Cessation of Life Gold Pass Travel

  • From 23 February 2017 the Parliamentary Entitlements Legislation Amendment Act 2017 closed the Life Gold Pass travel scheme to all parliamentarians (other than retired former Prime Ministers and their spouses or de facto partners, who are eligible for parliamentary retirement travel).

Reduction in Age for Travel Senior Officers’ Dependent Children

  • From 23 February 2017, expenses for travel in Australia for the dependent children of Senior Officers are limited to those who are less than 18 years of age.

Approval of Parliamentary Delegation Travel

  • From 12 February 2017, the program for travel overseas as a member of a parliamentary delegation is approved by the Presiding Officers (formerly the Prime Minister) (Item 9 Part 1 Schedule 1 Parliamentary Entitlements Act 1990).

Overseas Travel by a Presiding Officer

  • From 1 July 2017, total travel expenses for travel overseas on official business by a Presiding Officer and their spouse up to $250,000 in a financial year is at the discretion of the Presiding Officers. If the expenses exceed $250,000, any further benefit requires the approval of the Prime Minister (Item 2 Part 2 Schedule 1 Parliamentary Entitlements Act 1990). (The measure was introduced from 12 February 2017 with a transitional amount applying to 30 June.)