TRAVEL ON SCHEDULED TRANSPORT
Parliamentarians may travel by scheduled commercial transport at Commonwealth expense in Australia (including the external territories, but not Antarctica) when travelling for the dominant purpose of parliamentary business.
What is scheduled commercial transport?
- Scheduled flights on commercial or commuter air services
- Rail services
- Coaches operating as regular carriers
- Ferries operating as regular carriers
- Other vehicles operating as regular carriers.
Travel may be undertaken up to the cost of business class for the most reasonable and usual route between the departure and destination points. All travel must represent value for money to the Commonwealth.
TRAVEL ON UNSCHEDULED TRANSPORT
What is unscheduled transport?
- Regulated rideshare services
- Self-drive hire cars
- Chartered buses
- Chartered aircraft.
Unscheduled commercial transport services cannot be used within the parliamentarian’s electorate if the parliamentarian could reasonably use their private plated vehicle.
If the parliamentarian does not have a private plated vehicle and instead receives an allowance, the parliamentarian should use their allowance to cover transport costs in circumstances where a private plated vehicle could otherwise reasonably be used.
When can a taxi or regulated ridesharing service be used?
Parliamentarians need to decide about the 'reasonableness' of using taxis or other transport in their local area. In general, a private plated vehicle or allowance in lieu should be used.
IPEA provides parliamentarians with a Cabcharge card. If a taxi payment is made by other means, or if a Cabcharge card is processed manually, the parliamentarian must sign the receipt, detailing the travel locations, and provide these details to IPEA.
When can a self-drive hire car be used?
Anywhere in Australia subject to meeting the framework principles.
When can a passenger travel with a parliamentarian on unscheduled commercial transport?
- Where the passenger is required for the parliamentarian to conduct their parliamentary business (for example, a parliamentarian may need to be accompanied by a member of staff, or industry expert) or
- Where there are no additional costs for the passenger’s travel.
If additional costs are incurred so a passenger can travel, the passenger or the parliamentarian must personally meet the additional costs. Requiring a larger aircraft or vehicle, or incurring extra landing fees may create additional costs.
A family member accompanying a parliamentarian is not a ‘required’ passenger, and can only travel if:
- there are no additional costs. OR
- the parliamentarian meets the additional cost. OR
- it is within the family reunion provisions.
TRAVEL ON COMMONWEALTH TRANSPORT (COMCAR)
When can a COMCAR be used?
A parliamentarian can access COMCAR services within Australia to conduct parliamentary business. There are however certain conditions that apply. These include that the travel:
- is for the dominant purpose of conducting parliamentary business; and
- represents value for money to the Commonwealth.
COMCAR services must not be accessed if you could have reasonably used your Commonwealth provided private plated vehicle or the allowance provided in lieu of a private plated vehicle to undertake or fund the travel. IPEA is available for additional advice on the use of COMCAR.
What is a private plated vehicle?
A private plated vehicle or an option to receive an allowance in lieu of a a private plated vehicle is available for all parliamentarians. Further information is available on the Ministerial and Parliamentary Services website.
PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE
What is a private vehicle allowance?
An allowance a parliamentarian may claim for trips from their home base to Canberra (or part way) on parliamentary business in a privately owned vehicle, where this represents value for money. The Remuneration Tribunal determines the rates for the allowance. The allowance is provided for fuel and running costs.
Did you know?
In certain circumstances, other expenses may be claimed when using a privately owned vehicle:
- parking fees
- costs for relief drivers
- car ferry costs.
Payments for private vehicle allowances that exceed 5,000 km in a financial year, or exceed the Australian Taxation Office motor vehicle allowance deductible expense rate, will be subject to Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding tax.
MINOR TRAVEL EXPENSES
What other travel expenses can be claimed?
A parliamentarian may claim reimbursement of minor travel expenses incurred when travelling in accordance with the provisions of the framework. These may include parking costs, public transport costs and fuel costs for self-drive hire cars.
TRAVEL IN LARGE ELECTORATES
Parliamentarians with electorates of an area of 10,000 km² or more, receive a 'transport in electorates budget'. The budget allows parliamentarians to hire unscheduled commercial transport at Commonwealth expense for the dominant purpose of conducting electorate duties in their electorate.
A travel allowance covering accommodation, meals and incidental expenses is payable to a parliamentarian for each overnight stay in Australia that is not at their home base.
Travel allowance is limited to 10 nights per financial year when travelling for the dominant purpose of conducting party political duties at a location other than Canberra or, electorate duties at places outside the parliamentarian’s electorate.