As part of the implementation of the recommendations of the review into An Independent Parliamentary Entitlements System – Review (the Review), the Remuneration Tribunal has determined that the following changes take effect on and from 1 July 2017.
The changes detailed below are in addition to updated private-plated vehicle arrangements prescribed in Determination 2017/13: Members of Parliament – Entitlements (the Determination) that are outlined in Ministerial circular 2017/07.
1. Transport in Large Electorates (Formerly Electorate Charter): More Flexibility but No Changes to Electorate Charter or Electorate Allowance
Consistent with Recommendation 12 of the Review, Part 7 of the Determination 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.
The Remuneration Tribunal also examined the transport in large electorate budgets, rates of electorate allowance, travelling allowance and second vehicle offset provisions for large electorates in accordance with Recommendation 23(b) of the Review and decided that current amounts and arrangements are adequate.
2. Canberra and Intra-state Family Reunion Travel (Other than for ACT Senators and Members): Calculated at Economy Class for Dependent Children
The Remuneration Tribunal agreed with Recommendation 17 of the Review that dependent children should generally travel economy class. Accordingly, the calculation of the annual budget for Canberra and intra-state family reunion travel, under clause 3.13, is now by reference to 3economy class return airfares to Canberra (from the child’s principal place of residence, or from Sydney for parliamentarians whose home base is within 150km of Canberra) for each dependent child (replacing business class airfares).
3. Updated Definition of Dependent Child
Consistent with Recommendation 18 of the Review, the Determination adopts a contemporary definition of ‘dependent child’, as used in 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.
4. Inter-State Family Reunion Travel: Extension of Eligible Travel Where the Parliamentarian is a Mother Caring for a Dependent Child up to 12 Months of Age
Consistent with Recommendation 20 of the Review, the Remuneration Tribunal has decided to amend the inter-state family reunion travel provision in clause 3.17A, by extending 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, this travel provision was only available to support a breastfeeding parliamentarian.
5. Reduction in Post Retirement Travel
Consistent with Recommendation 21 of the Review, 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. Part 8 has also been updated to reflect the replacement of Life Gold Pass with parliamentary retirement travel for retired former Prime Ministers.
These changes bring the number of Review recommendations that have been implemented to 12.
The Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA) is responsible for administering travel related expenses and allowances, including providing advice to parliamentarians and their employees. Should you require further information concerning the changes to the Determination, please contact IPEA on (02) 6215 3000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Special Minister of State
30 June 2017