Learning and Professional Development

Professional Development Program

Ministerial and Parliamentary Services (M&PS) provides a Professional Development Program (PDP) each year. The program has been designed to enhance employees’ skills and knowledge and to contribute to the support role that employees provide to their employing Senator or Member.

A PDP calendar is developed by M&PS each year in response to the training needs of employees as identified through consultation with course participants, employees and employing Senators and Members.

Details for each training session are circulated in advance of each course provided as part of the program. Registration forms for each session are submitted online, through the PDP Calendar.

Training is provided by contracted training suppliers, or, in some cases, by Finance employees. Courses are presented through face-to-face training in Canberra and each state capital.


In the event of an election, the PDP will be suspended. Where possible, the remaining courses will be rescheduled as soon as practicable after the election, but some courses maybe cancelled.

Computer Training

All MOP(S) Act employees have access to computer training at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. Training is administered by the Department of Parliamentary Services and includes online courses and face-to-face training provided by a contracted computer training supplier in capital cities and major regional locations throughout Australia.

For assistance with services provided by the contracted computer training supplier, please contact the DPS 2020 Service Desk.

Ad hoc Training

Employees may access other professional development activities that satisfy their individual development needs. This may include attendance at events within Australia such as courses, seminars, workshops and conferences. These events must be related to the employee’s duties, tasks and responsibilities, represent value for money, and should not duplicate a learning and development opportunity provided as part of the Professional Development Program.

If employees wish to attend an ad hoc professional development event, approval to attend must be sought in advance by submitting Form 113: Application to Attend Ad Hoc Training to the relevant Advice and Support Director and must have the support of the employing Senator or Member. Employees are encouraged to seek approval prior to the training as no reimbursement of costs will be made without the support of the employing Senator or Member and the approval of the relevant Advice and Support Director.

Studies Assistance

Studies assistance is available for approved study at educational institutions in courses considered relevant to the employee’s employment. Approval for studies assistance can be sought by submitting Form 17: Application for Studies Assistance and Study Leave, signed by both the employee and the employing Senator or Member.

Applications for subsequent periods of study each require a new application.

Employees may be entitled to the following:

  • paid study leave of up to five hours per week to attend accredited courses at educational institutions; and
  • reimbursement of up to $10,000 per financial year of tuition and course fees, examination fees, and HELP payments, subject to satisfactory completion of course work. (Administration charges, student union fees, books, travel, accommodation and/or similar costs will not be reimbursed). Part-time employees are entitled to pro rata reimbursement.

Travel for Training

To ensure equitable access to training opportunities, the electorate employees of the following Senators and Members have access to four trips per year for their employees to travel to the nearest capital city to attend training under the Professional Development Program or approved ad hoc training and professional development opportunities, IT training or training for Work Health and Safety roles:

  • Those whose electorate offices are outside the greater metropolitan area of capital cities.
  • Those whose electorate offices are in the Northern Territory (employees may also travel to Adelaide or Brisbane).
  • Those whose electorate offices are in Tasmania (employees may also travel to Melbourne).

The electorate employees of Members who have:

  • a second official electorate office have access to five trips per year
  • a third official electorate office have access to six trips per year.

Employees should clearly mark their Form 54: Travelling and/or Motor Vehicle Allowance Claim as being for attendance at PDP or approved ad hoc training to ensure that the costs are not debited against the electorate support budget. Senators and Members should monitor monthly management reports and advise M&PS of any associated fare costs appearing in the report that should not be attributed to the electorate support budget.