- The domestic travel arrangements for employees are set out in Determination 2020/15 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:
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 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.
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 to the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA) a receipt and a completed Staff Travel Expenses Reimbursement Claim 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.
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.
- A stopover for personal reasons in the course of travel on official business may be approved by the employing Member under the arrangements at items 9-10 of the travel determination.
- After receiving approval from the employing Member, 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.
- Cost recovery action will be sought by 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 and parking costs
- Arrangements for the reimbursement of tolls and parking costs are at items 20-22 of the travel determination.
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 at items 23-24 of 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.
- Employees who use the additional travel under paragraph 25 should clearly mark their IPEA 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.
- Personal employees can travel to learning and development activities as official business in accordance with the arrangements in the travel determination.