Travel Allowances

Parliamentarian

This part of the website provides guidance to parliamentarians about the new 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:


Australian Travel Allowance

As a parliamentarian, you may claim an allowance, the Australian Travel Allowance, for accommodation, meals and incidental expenses for each overnight stay in accommodation in Australia that is not your home base.

Under the new expenses framework, you must apply the new principles when claiming these allowances, ensuring that any expenses claimed are for the dominant purpose of parliamentary business, that it represents value for money, that the expense is incurred in good faith, and that you are able to publicly defend the expense. Once the principles are applied, Australian Travel Allowance may be claimed anywhere in Australia for the purpose of conducting your Parliamentary Business, subject to the following limit:

Australian Travel Allowance is limited to 10 nights in a financial year when the dominant purpose is for one or more of the following reasons:

  • conducting the parliamentarian' party political duties at a location other than Canberra
  • conducting the parliamentarian' electorate duties at places outside the parliamentarians' electorate
  • you can claim Travel Allowance for a night in transit for the purpose of facilitating travel for the above reasons, and the night in transit would not be debited from the 10 night limit.

The Australian Travel Allowance rates are set by the Remuneration Tribunal.

Travel allowance rates vary depending on the travel location. The current rates are published at Parliamentarians’ Travelling Allowance Rates.

Except in Canberra, there are commercial and non-commercial rates:

  • Commercial rates are paid for commercial accommodation providers as defined by the ATO. Generally, a commercial accommodation provider will issue an Australian tax invoice, including GST and an ABN for the premises. Before a booking is made, parliamentarians should consider whether GST is payable for their accommodation if they intend to claim the commercial TA rate, as some accommodation arrangements, for example through Airbnb or private holiday rentals on Stayz, do not satisfy this requirement.
  • Non-commercial rates are paid for stays in non-commercial accommodation, such as the home of a family member or friend. Airbnb and other ‘share economy’ arrangements are generally residential accommodation, and are paid at non-commercial rates.

Private Vehicle Allowance

As a parliamentarian, you may claim Private Vehicle Allowance when travelling between your home base and Canberra in your private vehicle. The travel by private vehicle may be for all or part of the journey.

The allowance can cover fuel and other running costs for a parliamentarian to travel between their home base and Canberra in the parliamentarian's private vehicle.

The definition of a ‘private vehicle’ in relation to a parliamentarian, or a family member of a parliamentarian:

  • includes any vehicles owned by the parliamentarian of a family member
  • does not include a private plated vehicle.

The current private vehicle allowance rate is 68 cents/km, up to 5,000km per financial year. After 5,000km, IPEA withholds tax in accordance with ATO requirements.

Using Private Plated Vehicle

  • private plated vehicles are provided to parliamentarians for use in a range of circumstances such as travelling within, and for the service of their electorate.
  • Parliamentarians' cannot claim unscheduled commercial transport costs for travel within their electorate if they can reasonably use their private plated vehicle for that journey - if the parliamentarians' has a private plated vehicle.
  • Parliamentarians' should use car transport where possible. For example, if a parliamentarian travels from their electorate office to another location in their electorate, and scheduled commercial services are not available, they should consider whether it is reasonable in the circumstances to take their private plated vehicle instead of using a taxi at Commonwealth expense.
  • a private plated vehicle is to be used in accordance with the vehicle’s provision as part of the parliamentarians remuneration package under section 14 of the Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017 (the PBR Act), which may include use for the parliamentarians private purposes as well as for electorate duties and other parliamentary business.

A parliamentarian's remuneration under section 14 of the PBR Act may include one or more private plated vehicles or an allowance instead of a private plated vehicle.

A parliamentarian's who chooses an allowance instead of a private plated vehicle, is expected to use the allowance instead of claiming taxi costs in circumstances where a private plated vehicle could otherwise be used.

Large Electorates

Travel limits apply to the following parliamentarians for the dominant purpose of conducting electorate duties in their electorates during a financial year:

  • for a senator for New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia or Tasmania—$14,860 or a senator for Queensland or Western Australia—$26,490
  • for a senator for the Northern Territory—$65,760
  • for a member of the House of Representatives with an electorate with an area of at least 300,000 km2—$120,000
  • for a member of the House of Representatives with an electorate with an area of at least 100,000 km2 but less than 300,000 km2—$38,190
  • for a member of the House of Representatives with an electorate with an area of at least 25,000 km2 but less than 100,000 km2—$21,160
  • for a member of the House of Representatives with an electorate with an area of at least 10,000 km2 but less than 25,000 km2—$10,420.

Travel Allowance Rates 

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