Exceptional circumstances determinations

Last updated
29 April 2021

The Minister may determine that additional public resources relating to the conduct of your parliamentary business should be provided to you where exceptional circumstances justify the determination, taking into account the following (and any other matters 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 Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017 (PBR Act) (for example, why additional public resources to communicate with your constituents due to an unexpected event cannot be met from your annual budget for office expenses)
  • 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 determination applies from when it is made, and cannot be used to retrospectively validate or reimburse expenses committed to or incurred. It is therefore important that you submit any applications for additional resources before incurring the expenses.

All expenditure is included in your expenditure reports published by the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA).

Requesting additional resources in exceptional circumstances

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 of the event occurring.

In order for the Minister to consider a request, your application should include:

  • sufficient detail on the exceptional circumstance (for example, for a natural disaster, information on the scale of its impact on your electorate, state or territory)
  • the nature of the parliamentary business that you will undertake with the additional public resources and how it relates to the exceptional circumstance
  • how the additional public resources will provide value for money
  • the extent to which you have expended relevant existing resources (including recent commitments that have not yet been reflected) and why additional 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 determines 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.

However, you should be aware that if the exceptional circumstances which formed the basis and justification for the Minister’s determination cease to be relevant, you would be unable to rely on the determination for claiming ongoing costs.

Your PBR obligations apply to resources provided under an exceptional circumstances determination.

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