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Use of Canberra-based Vehicles

Overarching Obligations

The Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017 imposes overarching obligations.
The dominant purpose and value for money tests and specified conditions must be met. See s25, 26, 27, 28.

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Dominant Purpose: Parliamentary Business

Unlike a private plated vehicle provided to you as part of your remuneration, if you request a Canberra-based vehicle, you may only use it for the dominant purpose of your parliamentary business. If you contravene this obligation, you will be liable to repay the expense that relates to the contravention. Any amount not repaid within 28 days attracts a 25 per cent penalty loading that is a debt due to the Commonwealth.

Canberra-based vehicles must not be used for a commercial purpose. Commercial purpose is defined in s5 of the Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017 as a ‘purpose relating to the derivation of financial gain or reward’.

Value for Money

Your Canberra-based vehicle must be taken into account when considering travel within Canberra by other means, such as COMCAR, taxis and regulated ridesharing services. Your ability to claim transport costs for travel in Canberra by other means may be impacted in circumstances where you could have reasonably used your Canberra-based vehicle. Furthermore, if you contravene this obligation, you will be liable to repay the transport expense. Any amount not repaid within 28 days attracts a 25 per cent penalty loading that is a debt due to the Commonwealth.

Garaging and use in Canberra

Your Canberra-based vehicle must be predominately used and garaged in Canberra. You must consider any use of the vehicle outside of Canberra carefully, and such use must be incidental.

If the requirement for the vehicle to be predominantly used and garaged in Canberra is not met, you will be liable to repay expenses and a penalty loading that relate to any contravention.

Fuel Cards

Fuel cards are issued by sgfleet and provided with the Canberra-based vehicle for diesel, unleaded petrol and car washing services, but NOT for premium unleaded (unless specified by the manufacturer). The fuel card should be used for payment where possible. The odometer reading must be entered every time the car is refuelled.

If the fuel card is unable to be used (such as because of a technical failure), an sgfleet reimbursement form can be downloaded from their website and returned with the receipt and odometer reading.

Fuel cards must be kept in a secure place when not in use.

Fuel cards must not be used for any vehicle other than the Canberra-based vehicle that it is associated with.

Vehicle Condition

All Canberra-based vehicles must be maintained and returned in good condition. To assist with this:

Returning a vehicle at end of the lease in a sound, serviceable condition assists in ensuring that the Commonwealth does not incur additional charges for excess wear and tear and achieves the best possible sale price when the vehicle is sold. Returning a vehicle in a poor or unreasonable condition that negatively affects the Commonwealth’s ability to achieve a reasonable sale price may result in the contravention of your value for money obligation.

Scheduled Servicing

It is your responsibility to ensure that the vehicle is regularly serviced in line with the manufacturer’s warranty (and as shown on the sticker on the vehicle windscreen). This should be organised directly with the local sgfleet associated service agent.

Car Washes

The cost of car-washing services (except for valet car washing services) for a Canberra-based vehicle will be met by the Commonwealth through the fuel card provided with the vehicle. It is expected that your car washing costs are reasonable and represent value for money.

You may choose a car-washing service that appropriately maintains the vehicle’s presentational condition, noting the fair wear and tear guidance on the constant use of automatic car washes and any manufacturer’s instructions. Vehicle manufacturers provide advice on the car washing requirements to maintain a vehicle.

Accidents

All damage to a Canberra-based vehicle, however minor, must be reported promptly to sgfleet’s 24 hour hotline:1800 009 082.  Any theft or malicious damage involving the vehicle must be reported to the Police.

Tolls and Traffic Infringements

It is unlikely that you will incur toll charges in relation to the vehicle as it is Canberra-based. Nevertheless, should this occur, you are personally responsible for all road tolls, any fines or penalties for the non-payment or late payment of road tolls, and for any administration costs in relation to these. Toll infringements and administrative fees can be avoided by supplying a personal e-tag to fit the Canberra-based vehicle (these are not provided or reimbursable by M&PS).

Parliamentarians are personally responsible for payment of any fine specified on an infringement notice, other than where a statutory declaration has been returned to the issuing authority identifying another person as the driver of the vehicle at the time of the infringement. Where an administrative charge for processing an infringement notice is levied, M&PS will obtain reimbursement from the relevant Parliamentarian.

Parking

For access to parking at Parliament House, Senators should contact the Office of the Usher of the Black Rod and Members should contact the Office of the Serjeant-at-Arms.

Please direct any other queries relating to parking fees for your Canberra-based vehicle to IPEA.

You may request a ‘B Class label’ for your Canberra-based vehicle which allows the vehicle to be parked in certain restricted parking spaces reserved for Commonwealth vehicles. Requests should be made to Ministerial and Parliamentary Services ACT Territory Manager.

Drivers

You may authorise any of the following people to drive your Canberra-based vehicle:

  • an employee
  • a family member
  • another person assisting you to conduct your parliamentary business.

It is your responsibility to ensure that persons who drive your Canberra-based vehicle have an appropriate licence and do not use the vehicle for commercial purposes. Commercial purpose is defined as a ‘purpose relating to the derivation of financial gain or reward’ in s5 Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017.

There is no requirement to notify Ministerial and Parliamentary Services or the fleet provider of authorised persons who drive your Canberra-based vehicle.

Relevant Legislation

Last updated: 09 December 2019