4.13.1 Whole of Government Travel Provider
Ministerial offices may use the Whole of Government contracted travel provider for domestic and international travel.
Booking procedures and administration information are available on the ministerial intranet. In selecting flights, preference should be given to the most cost effective airline.
4.13.2 Cash advances
Cash advances are provided for overseas travel.
4.13.3 Domestic Travel
All domestic travel must be for official purposes in relation to the functions and activities of the Minister’s portfolio or the Government. Travel for private purposes is not to be charged to the office. It is possible for travel associated with election campaigns to be official in nature, provided it is not for personal campaign purposes.
Domestic travel expenditure must be approved by the appropriate authorised officer. Ministerial staff members who are nominated as authorising officers cannot approve their own travel expenditure.
No travel insurance should be purchased. The Government self insures for domestic travel purposes.
Domestic travel expenditure includes expenditure incurred by:
- guests of the Minister (whose attendance the Minister believes on reasonable grounds will assist in the performance of the relevant duties), and
- the partner of the Minister when:
- accompanying the Minister for official purposes; or
- travelling separately to the Minister but attending the same function; or
- attending a function, conference or convention in lieu of the Minister; or
- attending a function, conference or convention in their own right as partner of the Minister.
Where departmental officers accompany the Minister, all their costs should be borne by the Department.
The Minister’s partner and ministerial guests are only entitled to actual expenditure which is reasonable for the circumstances. There is no entitlement for meal allowances.
Ministers, Assistant Ministers and staff may claim allowances for meals and incidental expenses if travel involves an overnight absence.
There is no allowance entitlement for same day travel, however Ministers, Assistant Ministers and staff may be able to claim actual costs for meals associated with same day travel for official purposes subject to the provision of receipts.
Travel allowances for Ministers, Assistant Ministers and staff will mirror the allowances listed in the Commissioner of Taxation’s determination on reasonable travel meal allowance expense amounts as published on the Australian Taxation Office website. The claim form and current applicable allowance amounts are available on the Ministerial Intranet.
4.13.4 Travel to and from the Electorate (office or home)
Travel between Brisbane (or another centre where the Minister is performing official duties) and the electorate for the conducting of ministerial business is treated as official expenditure. This ensures that Ministers and Assistant Ministers with regional electorates are not disadvantaged in meeting their electorate responsibilities.
Costs are to cover the return of the Minister/Assistant Minister to their principal place of residence or electorate office.
4.13.5 Air Charter
Ministers are entitled to use charter aircraft for official purposes when scheduled services are not available, or if using scheduled services would not enable the Minister to keep an official commitment.
Air charter should not be the regularly accepted form of transport. It is only to be used as a measure of last resort.
Twin engine aircraft should be used and Ministers should ensure that aircraft and pilots are rated for all-weather flying. However, if absolutely necessary, Ministers may be permitted to travel in single engine aircraft.
Suitable insurance coverage or indemnity must be arranged for Ministers when flying in a single engine aircraft or helicopter. (This is normally organised by the charter firm. Where not available, this will need to be organised by the Office of the Minister).
During an election campaign, it is important that charter aircraft are not used for personal campaign purposes (except to the extent they are used for normal travel to and from the electorate).
The use of Government aircraft should be considered as the first option for the charter of fixed wing aircraft however, costs will be considered. Costs for the use of the government aircraft will be charged as per the “Guidelines for the use of Government Aircraft for Official Transport”. All inquiries regarding the use of the government aircraft should be directed to the Queensland Government Air Wing. See EXPENSES RELATING TO A MINISTER’S OFFICE - Government aircraft.
Standing Offer Arrangement QGCPO-609 may be considered in selecting air charter but best value for money should be the primary focus in such a selection.
4.13.6 Class of Travel
Ministers and Assistant Ministers may travel Business Class. Chiefs of Staff may travel business class if accompanying the Minister. Other staff members are required to travel best fare economy class unless:
- The staff member is accompanying the Minister or Assistant Minister who is travelling Business Class then that staff member may also travel Business Class.
- the plane trip within Australia is in excess of three (3) hours airtime, then that staff member may travel Business Class.
The above standards of travel should be seen as a maximum and where possible travel by best fare economy is encouraged.
Staff are entitled to a reasonable standard of accommodation when travelling, but should have regard to economy, functionality, access to the Minister and other requirements.
Domestic travel may be booked through the travel provider by the ministerial office. When the Minister or staff are travelling with departmental officers, the department should organise travel arrangements for their staff separately through their own travel provider.
Each office will have a Travel Account for flights, booking fees, accommodation and some car hire.
The following procedures apply:
- obtain approval of Minister or delegated officer.
- arrange booking with travel provider (eg. flights, accommodation, car hire etc).
- The Travel Account is an official credit facility. On checkout, a guest copy of the account should be requested and any personal costs should be paid for privately.
- Travel Accounts will be sent monthly to each office by Ministerial Services for reconciliation and authorisation. The account will have a nominated date of return to avoid late fees.
- check that charges agree with the flights and accommodation booked and prices quoted, and that any credits for unused or returned air tickets are being credited to the account (these can take up to three months to come through).
- Travel Accounts must be authorised by the delegated officer and returned to Ministerial Services by the due date.
Allowances are only claimable after appropriate documentation has been provided to Ministerial Services showing that the trip was undertaken and the days of the departure and return.
The Government will pay for airfares home where a Minister/staff deviates from a direct route home for personal reasons, provided the cost does not exceed the costs that would have been incurred if the Minister/staff had flown home as soon as official business was completed. If these costs exceed this amount, the additional amount is a personal cost.
4.13.7 Airline Club Memberships
Ministers and their partners are provided with complimentary memberships to the Qantas Chairman’s Lounge. Assistant Ministers retain their Qantas Club membership from Parliament House. Staff are not entitled to reimbursement for Qantas Club membership. However, staff can access the corporate rate for memberships. Ministerial Services can advise staff on how to access this rate.
Other airline lounge membership is available on a one-off basis, or for a yearly fee. Ministers may use the lounge if they believe it will assist in their official duties. This will be an official ministerial expense.
4.13.8 Government aircraft
Follow the procedures outlined in the “Guidelines for the Use of Government Aircraft for Official Transport”.
Any inquiries regarding the use of the government aircraft are to be directed to the Government Airwing
4.13.9 Overseas Travel
All overseas travel must be for official purposes in relation to the functions and activities of the Minister’s portfolio or the Government. Travel for private purposes is not to be charged to the office. Official credit cards must not be used for private expenditure while travelling.
Ministers, Assistant Ministers and staff travelling overseas with Smart phones/ tablets for either official or recreation purposes must contact Ministerial Services to ensure the appropriate actions have taken place to protect information and avoid international roaming charges on either work provided or personal devices.
All overseas travel must have prior approval of the Premier.
All requests for overseas travel and a draft itinerary are to be submitted via the ministerial intranet only. The request will be emailed for the appropriate comments by Trade and Protocol then directed to the Office of the Premier for prioritisation and approval. Once approved, these details will be forwarded to Ministerial Services.
The submission for approval must incorporate:
- the objectives of the visit;
- the anticipated explicit benefit from the visit for the Department or portfolio related activity;
- the countries to be visited;
- the approximate length of travel;
- full details of accompanying persons whose costs are to be met from public funds;
- total estimated cost (estimates of airfares, accommodation, meals and other costs are to be provided).
Requests are to be provided three months prior to travel if possible. Urgent requests may be considered by the Premier on a case by case basis.
Travel by the Minister’s Partner
If the Minister’s partner is required to travel and costs will be incurred on their behalf, the submission must also set out:
- the specific benefit to Queensland attributable to the partner travelling; and
- a separate detailed itinerary for the partner.
The Premier’s approval must specifically authorise any travel by the Minister’s partner, including any travel when the Minister’s partner expenses are met privately.
Recreation leave while overseas
Ministers or staff when travelling overseas may take recreation leave provided that:
- the official trip is over a week long;
- the period of leave is generally not longer than the official trip;
- there are no additional costs to the Government; and
- the prior approval of the Premier is obtained.
Ministerial Services must be advised in writing of any leave to be taken prior to the start of the trip.
Overseas travel expenditure includes expenditure incurred by:
- the partner of the Minister, whether:
- accompanying the Minister; or
- travelling separately to the Minister but attending the same function; or
- attending a function, conference or convention in lieu of the Minister; or
- in their own right as partner of the Minister, and
- guests of the Minister (whose attendance the Minister believes on reasonable grounds will assist in the performance of the relevant duties).
Where departmental officers accompany the Minister, their costs should be borne by those departments and not charged against the Office of the Minister.
Ministers and staff are entitled to claim a daily expense for overseas travel in accordance with the Commissioner for Taxation’s determination on reasonable travel and overtime meal allowance expense amounts as published on the Australian Taxation Office website. The current applicable allowance amounts are listed on the Ministerial Intranet.
Allowances are only claimable after a signed itinerary has been provided to Ministerial Services showing the final details of the trip that was undertaken. (Refer to Procedures - Acquittal of Advance).
Report to Parliament
The Minister has to table a written report on overseas travel undertaken in Parliament within one month of their return. A copy of the tabled report is to be sent to Ministerial Services either prior to, or as soon as possible after tabling.
This report should detail the benefits obtained from overseas travel in addition to the details in the approval section (above), excluding any requests for recreation leave. Note that the total estimated cost of the travel is to be included in the report and/or the actual costs are to be reported in the Public Report of Ministerial Office Expenses which is presented to Parliament on a six monthly basis.
Class of Travel
Ministers and Assistant Ministers may travel First Class. Staff may travel Business Class unless the staff member is accompanying the Minister or Assistant Minister who is travelling First Class, in which case the staff member may also travel First Class.
The above standards of travel should be seen as a maximum standard and travellers are encouraged to economise where practical.
When travelling, a Minister is entitled to a level of accommodation commensurate to their role. Staff are entitled to a reasonable standard of accommodation when travelling, but should have regard to economy, functionality, access to the Minister and other requirements.
Once the Premier’s approval is obtained, all travel for the Minister and his/her staff should be booked through the travel provider by the ministerial office. This should be the case even when the Minister or staff are travelling with departmental officers. The department should organise travel arrangements for their staff separately through their own travel provider.
Official credit cards must not be used to incur private expenditure (eg. dvds, lounge bar costs, etc). When overseas, on checkout an account will be provided to all travellers for payment by credit card. Any personal costs should be paid for separately at this time. All documentation should be retained for acquittal purposes.
A travel insurance policy is in place for all official overseas trips. No additional travel insurance is required. Please contact Ministerial Services for details.
Cash advances are provided in foreign currency.
Acquittal of Advance
The full acquittal of advances must occur within two (2) weeks of return. If this cannot occur within this time frame the office must advise Ministerial Services of the reason and expected date of acquittal. Before the acquittal can be finalised, the following must be sent to Ministerial Services:
- diary or final itinerary of trip signed by the Minister;
- appropriate signed and completed hospitality forms;
- slips showing currency exchange rates where currency was changed (eg. US dollars to Hong Kong dollars); and
- all supporting documentation (eg. receipts, etc.) for expenditure incurred from the advance.
In line with requirements determined by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), official passports issued to staff of Brisbane-based offices are held for safe keeping by Ministerial Services when they are not required for travel.
Diplomatic passports issued to Ministers and official passports issued to Assistant Ministers are not required to be held by Ministerial Services. However, they may be forwarded to Ministerial Services for safe keeping if the Minister or Assistant Minister desires.
Lost passports need to be reported immediately to DFAT and Ministerial Services.
Ministerial offices must apply to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for the issue of Official/Diplomatic passports where necessary. Forms are available from Ministerial Services. Please contact Ministerial Services regarding the application and they will provide payment and a sponsorship letter as required by DFAT.
Application costs for official passports are a charge to the Office of the Minister. Upon receipt of a staff passport, it should be sent to Ministerial Services for safe keeping if travel is not imminent.
Official passports should be returned to Ministerial Services within two (2) weeks of returning to Australia or at the time of acquitting travel advances.
In accordance with advice from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Ministers may use diplomatic passports for private travel if they believe they may be required to represent the State.