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Exceptional Circumstances Determinations

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.

The Commonwealth is not liable to pay an expense or provide a public resource where you contravene any of these obligations (s29, PBR Act).

The Minister may approve additional public resources relating to the conduct of your parliamentary business in exceptional circumstances, taking into account the following (and any other matter the Minister considers relevant):

  • any unexpected event that has affected you or your electorate (for example, a natural disaster or other serious unforeseen disruption to a community or region that requires public response)
  • any circumstances which mean that your needs cannot otherwise be addressed under the Act (for example, you suffer a non-compensable injury and require reasonable additional public resources to conduct your duties)
  • your family or caring responsibilities (for example, you have a unique caring arrangement, or there is a sudden and unforeseen change in your family circumstances)
  • whether, despite you being otherwise ineligible for a public resource, providing you with that resource would represent value for money for the Commonwealth.

The Minister’s decision applies from when it is made, and cannot be used to retrospectively validate or reimburse expenses committed to or incurred.

Expenditure is reported in your monthly managementreports and quarterly expenditure reports.


An application for an exceptional circumstances determination must be made to the Minister in writing. Applications relating to an unexpected event should be made as soon as practicable, preferably within 30 days after the event has occurred.

In order for the Minister to consider a request, it is expected that the application include:

  • sufficient detail on the exceptional circumstance (for example, for a natural disaster, information on the scale of its impact)
  • the nature of the parliamentary business that you will undertake with the additional public resources
  • how the additional public resources will provide value for money, taking into account the need to conduct your parliamentary business (note: value for money considerations are relevant for both you and the Minister)
  • the extent to which you have expended relevant existing resources (including recent commitments that have not yet been reflected) or why other non-existing public resources are required
  • the kinds of public resources you require, including the existing public resources you require to be supplemented together with specific financial amounts (the period remaining in the financial year before relevant resources are reset should be taken into account)
  • any other factors you consider relevant to the application.

Where the Minister approves additional public resources for a member, the resources must be used in accordance with the conditions set by the Minister. Conditions may include financial limits, the period in which the resources must be used or whether additional resources can be carried over into a subsequent financial year.

Relevant Legislation

Last updated: 27 March 2020