Car Transport

Subject to the general conditions that apply to all travel on official business as directed by the employing Senator or Member, employees may use:

  • taxis
  • regulated ridesharing services
  • hire cars (in order to demonstrate that hire car travel is an efficient use of public money, employees should compare the cost of hire cars to taxis and/or regulated ridesharing services for the same route, and choose the most economical option).
  • short-term self-drive cars hired through the travel services provider, or with any car hire company, provided that:
    • the hire is of no more than 10 days duration
    • the vehicle is not used for journeys within Canberra
    • the vehicle is not used for journeys within a city/town where the employer’s electorate or other office is located, except by employees of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, or the leader of a minority party.

For the purposes of car hire by employees, a capital city, other than Canberra, is defined by the boundaries of the electorates identified as urban on the Federal Electoral Boundaries map published from time to time by the Australian Electoral Commission. Canberra includes locations within a 30km radius of Parliament House.1

Self-drive hire cars should be used on weekdays only unless exceptional circumstances apply and the Senator or Member has approved the use.2

The cost of insurance may be included in the cost of self-drive car hire where it is purchased as part of the vehicle hire. It is the responsibility of employees to ensure that they arrange the appropriate level of insurance for the circumstances of the hire. To reduce liability to the Commonwealth in case of loss or damage to the vehicle, this will usually be the highest level of insurance cover available..

Employees are provided, on the request of the employing Senator or Member or authorised person, with a Cabcharge card for taxi travel.3 Employees are not entitled to use taxis, regulated ridesharing services, hire cars or short-term self-drive hire cars at Commonwealth expense for private use.4

As noted above, it is the employee’s responsibility (and hence the employee’s cost) to transport himself or herself to and from his or her work base for normal hours of duty (or between accommodation and work when travelling on parliamentary or electorate business away from his or her work base). However, exceptions to this rule apply to the use of car transport in the following circumstances:

  • the trip is approved for personal safety reasons (for example, where the risk to personal safety is significantly increased due to the requirement to work late)

  • the employee is travelling on official business and scheduled public transport services are not readily available

  • the employee is travelling on official business and is carrying luggage to/from the office for the purpose of the trip.5

Employees authorised by the employing Senator or Member to travel on official business may be reimbursed their toll and parking costs. Such costs must be reasonable (e.g. it is generally expected that long-stay parking will be used at an airport) to be eligible for full reimbursement. Toll and parking costs will not be reimbursed where incurred during a personal stopover or a period of leave. Employees are not entitled to be reimbursed for valet parking costs.6

Costs of all car transport for electorate employees are subject to the electorate support budget, other than for nominated electorate employees of certain Office Holders.7

Senators and Members are encouraged to check the accuracy of each monthly management report as it is received to ensure that Cabcharge expenditure is correctly recorded and within entitlement. From time to time, IPEA will undertake a detailed check of Cabcharge expenditure and further explanation will be requested if a trip appears to have been undertaken between the office and accommodation outside of entitlement. The employing Senator or Member will be asked to certify if any of the above exceptions applied to the travel undertaken.

Footnotes

1  Item 18 of Determination 2015/20.

2  Item 19 of Determination 2015/20

3  Paragraph 23 of the Enterprise Agreement Guideline: Domestic travel

4  Item 19 of Determination 2015/20.

5  Item 17 of Determination 2015/20.

6  Items 21 to 24 of Determination 2015/20.

7  Items 19 and 23 of Determination 2015/20.