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    4.7 Hospitality and Official Functions

    4.7.1 Hospitality (including Entertainment) – Provided by the Minister

    Hospitality is for the purpose of furthering official business with non-government attendees. It must relate to carrying out official duties and fulfilling the official responsibilities of the Minister's portfolio. Expenditure must always be reasonable and appropriate to the circumstances.

    Hospitality includes entertainment [which is the term used for Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) purposes] and is generally the provision of meals and beverages but may include other expenditure (eg. event tickets) where there is a clear relationship to the Minister's portfolio. Hospitality also includes the provision of items such as travel and overnight accommodation.

    Ministers, Assistant Ministers and Chiefs of Staff approved by the Premier may entertain.

    The policy and procedures in this Section and Section 4.7.3 - Working Meals apply for all those approved by the Premier to entertain.

    Hospitality should not be seen as a substitute for general business meetings which would ordinarily be conducted in the workplace. The number of government attendees should be limited to those who can assist in the performance of official duties and should be kept to a minimum.

    Government attendees generally refers to persons paid by public funds, a Minister's partner and an Assistant Minister's partner. Part-time board members would not normally be considered government employees if they are not public servants and government remuneration is not a significant part of their income.

    The provision of official hospitality to party political persons should only be undertaken where there is a clear official purpose related to the Minister's portfolio.

    Tipping is not allowable in Australia. However, tipping is likely to be appropriate when providing hospitality overseas.

    Alcoholic drinks only hospitality is considered a private expense. Tea, coffee and non-alcoholic refreshments only hospitality is appropriate.

    Hospitality for ministerial staff, departmental staff or other persons on the government payroll where there are no non-government attendees is not covered by this schedule. See Section 4.7.3 – Working meals.

    Reasonable limits

    As a guide, up to $120 per person (including meals and beverages) would be considered a reasonable hospitality cost. The cost of any alcohol should be reasonable relative to the cost of any meal. Authorisation of hospitality expenses should give due consideration to the appropriateness of the circumstances.

    Procedures

    An ‘Entertainment Certification’ form must be completed for FBT purposes for each instance of hospitality (see APPENDIX 8 (PDF, 29 KB)) showing the total number of participants, and the breakup of internal versus external to government participants. The number of external participants should be shown by organisation.

    4.7.2 Hospitality (including Entertainment) Benefits Received

    Hospitality benefits include entertainment [which is the term used for Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) purposes] and are generally received in the form of meals and beverages. However, these benefits can also include (but are not limited to): travel, accommodation or access to a private spectator box at a sporting or other venue, tickets to cultural events, annual passes, memberships or use of facilities.

    Since hospitality benefits have no enduring value they cannot be dealt with as a physical asset of the receiving agency as is the case for tangible gifts. However acceptance of hospitality still has the potential to give rise to a real or perceived conflict of interest or future obligation for a Minister or their staff.

    This policy does not cover hospitality benefits received of a purely personal nature from friends or family.

    Acceptance Principles

    • A hospitality benefit may be accepted if it does not influence a Minister or staff in such a way as to compromise impartiality or create a conflict of interest; and
    • it is received in the course of duty in respect of portfolio responsibilities, representing the State or the Premier has approved attendance.

    Ministerial staff must notify and seek the approval of either the Chief of Staff or Minister when they receive any invitation of hospitality benefits.

    Non-Acceptance Principles

    A hospitality benefit may not be accepted if:

    • it is likely to cause the recipient to act in a partial manner in the course of their duties; or
    • the offer is concealed; or
    • it is able to be exchanged for money.

    4.7.3 Working meals

    Working meals, which may include official morning and afternoon teas, are allowable where staff are required for official purposes to work through their normal meal periods and meals are then supplied. Working meals are not a substitute for normal office business.

    Working meals are not to be regular occurrences, must be approved by the appropriate delegated officer and be held in-house for a clear business purpose.

    Reasonable Limits

    As a guide the allowance rates set out under the Directive for travel meals (PDF, 134 KB) should be considered the maximum per person cost for a working meal.

    The above provisions do not apply to working meals while overseas which must be reasonable for the circumstances.

    Procedures

    An Entertainment Certification (PDF, 29 KB) must be completed and sent to Ministerial Services as circumstances may require FBT to be calculated.

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    Last updated:
    12 February, 2018
    Last reviewed:
    12 February, 2018