Travel within Australia


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]

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Travel within Australia

As a parliamentarian, you are able to travel by scheduled or unscheduled commercial transport within Australia for parliamentary business. When claiming for expenses related to scheduled or unscheduled commercial transport, you need to comply with the new principles, ensuring that the transport is for the dominant purpose of parliamentary business, and that it represents value for money.

‘Scheduled commercial transport’ means transport that is operated:

  • on a commercial basis
  • over a fixed route; and
  • on a regular timetable or regularly on demand.

‘Unscheduled commercial transport’ means transport, other than scheduled commercial transport that is operated on a commercial basis and includes the following:

  • hired vehicles
  • chartered transport.

As a parliamentarian, you need to ensure that both these types of transport are of a commercial arrangement:

  • this means that an arms-length financial payment will need to be made for the parliamentarian to access the transport (such as a taxi, train, bus service or commercial airline).
  • it does not mean that parliamentarians cannot access transport services run by entities that are not purely commercial entities. For example, a municipal bus service run by the local council would still be commercial transport for the purposes of the Regulations. Rather, the test is whether the transaction is commercial in nature.

As a parliamentarian, you are able to claim transport costs for the relevant scheduled or unscheduled commercial service for the journey.

You should note:

  • transport costs for commercial transport are the costs that would normally be required for a person to travel by that kind of transport
  • for example, for a person to travel on a scheduled commercial airfare, the person would normally need to pay both the airfare amount and the regulatory taxes that are paid as part of the ticket cost
  • for a charter arrangement, such as a taxi or charter flight, the charter cost would be the overall fee charged by the charter company for transporting the parliamentarian to the destination, which, depending on the service, may include an amount for road tolls or airport landing fees
  • where crossing a river by car ferry is necessary to get to a destination by road, the costs of that ferry would be included in the transport costs of a vehicle that the parliamentarian hired to take that journey.

In regards to hire vehicles, there may be some cases where it is appropriate to hire a relief driver to assist with the driving (for example, where a parliamentarian is driving long distances in a remote electorate) and so includes that as a claimable ‘transport cost’.

Additional Travellers

One or more persons, other than family members, can travel with a parliamentarian by unscheduled commercial transport within Australia if:

  • the travel could ordinarily be claimed by the parliamentarian if they travelled without the other person/s
  • the travel by the other person/s is reasonably required for the conduct of the parliamentarian's parliamentary business
  • The Parliamentary Business Resources Act 2017 and Parliamentary Business Resources Regulations 2017 provides that scheduled commercial fares are not claimable if they are above business class, and the transport costs of a hire car do not include road tolls, fines, penalties, or associated administrative costs (for example, the administration fee charged by a toll company to issue a toll)
  • these exclusions are consistent with the recommendations of the Review in respect of classes of claimable air travel, and existing policy on Commonwealth payments for hired vehicle costs.

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