Family Reunion Travel for all Parliamentarians

Parliamentarian

This part of the website provides guidance to parliamentarians about the parliamentary work expenses framework starting 1 January 2018.

For further assistance, contact IPEA on 02 6215 3000 or email enquiries [at] ipea.gov.au


On this page you will find information about travel within Australia for family members.

Family reunion travel for all parliamentarians:

Additional Travel for Senior Office Holders’ Family:


Family Reunion Travel Definition

Members of a parliamentarian’s family may travel using family reunion travel if:

  • the parliamentarian is travelling within Australia for the dominant purpose of conducting the parliamentarian’s parliamentary business, and
  • the family member(s) travels to accompany or join the parliamentarian, and
  • the travel by the family member(s) is for the dominant purpose of facilitating the family life of the parliamentarian’s family.

Nominating Family Members to Travel

Family members must be nominated to IPEA in writing prior to accessing family reunion travel.

You may nominate a family member for family reunion travel by emailing enquiries [at] ipea.gov.au all of the following information:

  • first and last name
  • gender
  • date of birth if under 18 years of age
  • home base (City/Town and State)
  • closest airport
  • relationship (i.e. daughter)
  • designation (i.e. Spouse, nominee, dependent child, designated person)
  • effective date of nomination.

IPEA may issue a travel profile number to the family member, which they may use to book family reunion travel through FCM.

It is important to keep IPEA up-to-date with changes to your family nominations, for example when a dependant turns 18 years of age and may no longer be considered a dependant.

A family member, for the purposes of family reunion travel, is defined as:

  • the parliamentarian’s spouse (including de facto partner) or nominee, a nominee being a person nominated by the Parliamentarian in place of a spouse.
  • a designated person in relation to the parliamentarian, who is an individual nominated by the parliamentarian who:
    • is a member of the parliamentarian’s immediate or extended family, or
    • is substantially dependent on the parliamentarian,
    • has significant caring responsibilities for—the parliamentarian’s spouse or nominee, or dependent child; or another person who is substantially dependent on the parliamentarian.

A dependent child of a parliamentarian means a person whom:

  1. both of the following apply:
    1. the person is less than 16 years of age
    2. the parliamentarian is legally responsible (whether alone or jointly with another person) for the day-to-day care, welfare and development of the person, or
  2. both of the following apply:
    1. the person is at least 16 years of age and less than 18 years of age
    2. the person is financially dependent on the parliamentarian, or
  3. all of the following apply:
    1. the person is 18 years of age or older
    2. the person is financially dependent on the parliamentarian
    3. the person is undertaking, and has been continuously undertaking, secondary education.

Family Reunion Travel to Canberra and within Local Area

As a parliamentarian travelling within Australia on parliamentary business, you may be accompanied or joined by your spouse or nominee, dependent child(ren) and designated person(s) at Commonwealth expense.  

Subject to a cost limit, the Commonwealth will pay for a parliamentarian’s family’s transport costs for travel between any of the following destinations for family reunion purposes:

  • the family member’s home base
  • the parliamentarian’s home base
  • Canberra
  • places in the State or Territory in which the parliamentarian’s electorate is located.

However, this section does not apply to:

  • a family member of a senator for the Australian Capital Territory, or
  • a family member of a member whose electorate is in the Australian Capital Territory, or
  • the spouse of a senior office holder.

Australia-Wide Family Reunion Travel

  • In each financial year, a parliamentarian’s family members may access three return fares—in total, not each—to travel for family reunion purposes.
  • Family members may travel by scheduled commercial transport at no higher than business class.
  • If a return fare is not required for particular travel, a one‑way fare may be used.
  • A one‑way fare counts as half of a return fare.

Incidental Transport Costs

Members of a parliamentarian’s family may claim incidental transport costs when they travel for family reunion purposes to join or accompany the parliamentarian while travelling for parliamentary business.

The incidental travel must occur for one or more of the following reasons:

  • travel to or from an airport, rail station or other point of departure for the purpose of commencing or completing a journey related to family reunion travel
  • travel by the parliamentarian’s spouse or nominee between their accommodation in Canberra and Parliament House.

The incidental travel must be by:

  • scheduled commercial transport, or
  • hired car, taxi or other chartered transport car service, or
  • COMCAR.

Private Vehicle Allowance—Travel to Canberra

An allowance is set for fuel and running costs for the spouse of a parliamentarian to travel to or from Canberra in their private vehicle for family reunion purposes. The travel by private vehicle may be for the whole or part of the journey.

Travel as Parliamentarian’s Representative

A parliamentarian’s spouse or nominee’s transport costs may be covered at Commonwealth expense if in the following circumstances:

  • the travel is for the dominant purpose of attending any of the following events as the parliamentarian’s representative:
    • a funeral
    • a function at which the parliamentarian was to receive an award or honour
    • a function in the parliamentarian’s electorate to which that the parliamentarian was invited, if the parliamentarian is unable to attend the event because of illness, parliamentary business or family reasons, and the parliamentarian’s attendance would have been for the dominant purpose of conducting Parliamentary business.

The travel must be by:

  • scheduled commercial transport, or
  • taxi or other chartered transport car service, or
  • COMCAR in accordance with a Commonwealth transport determination.

Travel as an Official Invitee

Transport costs can be covered at Commonwealth expense for the spouse or nominee of a parliamentarian to attend, by invitation, an official government, parliamentary or vice‑regal function.

If the spouse or nominee travels with the parliamentarian, they may use the same method of transport as the parliamentarian.

If the spouse or nominee does not travel with the parliamentarian, the travel must be by:

  • scheduled commercial transport, or
  • taxi or other chartered transport car service, or
  • COMCAR in accordance with a Commonwealth transport determination.

Parking Fees

A family member may claim parking fees when they park a private vehicle or private plated vehicle, used by the family member to commence or complete the family reunion trip, while travelling for family reunion purposes.

Additional Travel for Infants and their Carers

Parliamentarians who are mothers of a child up to 12 months of age can have their infant and the infant’s carer accompany or join them in circumstances where the parliamentarian is travelling interstate on parliamentary business and there are no further fares available for the parliamentarian’s family under Australia-wide family reunion travel.

The following transport costs are prescribed:

  • transport costs (if any) required for the child to accompany or join the parliamentarian
  • transport costs for a parliamentarian’s family member to accompany the child in order to assist the parliamentarian in caring for the child.

If the child is travelling with the parliamentarian:

  • the child may use the same method of transport and travel at the same class as the parliamentarian, and
  • the family member may use the same method of transport as the parliamentarian but, if there are different fare classes, must travel at economy class.
     
  • If the child is travelling to join the parliamentarian, the travel for the child and the family member must be by:
    • scheduled commercial transport at no higher than economy class, or
    • Commonwealth transport in accordance with a Commonwealth transport determination.

Additional Travel for the Family of Senior Office Holders

Travel as spouse of senior office holder (President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ministers, Assistant Ministers, Leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in either House of the Parliament)

Travel to Attend Engagements

Transport costs can be covered at Commonwealth expense for the spouse of a senior office holder to attend an engagement if the spouse is invited (either with or without the senior office holder) to attend the engagement in the spouse’s capacity as the spouse of a senior office holder.

Type of Travel

  • If the spouse travels with the senior office holder, the spouse may use the same method of transport as the senior office holder.

If the spouse does not travel with the senior office holder, the travel must be by:

  • scheduled commercial transport, or
  • taxi or other chartered transport car service, or
  • COMCAR in accordance with a Commonwealth transport determination.

Travel for Dependent Children of Certain Senior Office Holders for Family Reunion Purposes

  • In each financial year, each of a senior office holder’s (other than a Parliamentary Secretary/Assistant Minister) dependent child(ren) may access three return fares to travel between places in the senior office holder’s electorate and Canberra for family reunion purposes.
  • The fares may be used for travel by scheduled commercial transport at no higher than economy class.
  • If a return fare is not required for particular travel, a one‑way fare may be used.
  • A one‑way fare counts as half of a return fare.

Additional Travel for Dependent Children of Certain Senior Office Holders for Family Reunion Purposes

  • The Special Minister of State is able to approve, as reasonably necessary, additional travel for family reunion purposes.

In each financial year, a senior office holder’s (other than an Assistant Minister/Parliamentary Secretary) dependent child(ren) may access family reunion travel for the following purposes:

  • one visit to any place in Australia
  • travel between the child’s home base and Canberra to attend parliamentary functions attended by the senior office holder or the senior office holder’s spouse
  • travel between the child’s home base and Canberra when the senior office holder or the senior office holder’s spouse is in Canberra for lengthy periods.
     
  • The travel must be by scheduled commercial transport and:
    • if the child travels with the senior office holder, or the senior office holder’s spouse—at no higher than the same class as the senior office holder or the senior office holder’s spouse; or
    • at no higher than economy class.

More Information?

  • For travel related queries, contact IPEA on phone (02) 6215 3000 or email enquiries [at] ipea.gov.au
  • Additional information on the expenses framework can be found on the Legislative Framework page. 
  • For all other work expense matters, phone (02) 6215 3542 for parliamentarians or (02) 6215 3333 for MOP(S) Act employees or email mpshelp [at] finance.gov.au