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Domestic travel procedure

Version number 3.0 | Version effective 23 January 2023
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Domestic travel procedure

Audience

Department-wide, including non-departmental persons travelling on behalf of, and the expense of, the department.

Purpose

This procedure outlines the responsibilities and processes for undertaking official travel within Australia, including for professional development activities.

Overview

Departmental employees and non-departmental persons including contractors, (referred to collectively as travellers), may be required to undertake official travel within Australia on behalf of the Department of Education (the department).

Official travel is only permitted if the following conditions are satisfied:

  • The application of public resources for the travel is consistent with the principles outlined in the Appropriate and ethical use of public resources policy.
  • The travel advances the Queensland Government's priorities, and provides a benefit to the department.
  • The travel does not duplicate the activities of other agencies.
  • Alternatives to travel, such as video conferencing, are less suitable.
  • The travel, including the individual travel expenses, achieve value for money.

The department provides entitlements to travellers in accordance with Queensland Government directives. To claim an entitlement, travellers must either be

  • eligible per the "Application" section of the Queensland Government directive, or
  • non-departmental persons approved to travel on behalf of and at the expense of the department.

Entitlements for domestic travel are established under:

  • Directive 09/11 – Domestic travelling and relieving expenses – travellers may be entitled to allowances or reimbursement for actual and reasonable expenses for accommodation, meals and incidental expenses.
  • Directive 20/16 – Motor vehicle allowances – travellers may be entitled to a motor vehicle allowance when using a private motor vehicle for official purposes. The allowance for an employee required to use their private motor vehicle for official purposes is prescribed within the employee's relevant modern award. 

This procedure relates to official domestic travel only. For official international travel, refer to the Official international travel for business and professional development procedure and the International school study tours procedure.

Responsibilities

Travel requestor (or traveller)

  • assess the need for travel, considering the conditions that must be satisfied in the Overview above
  • seek approval for a travel request prior to the trip commencing, including for approval of any non-departmental person(s) travelling.

Traveller

Travel booker

  • assists traveller(s) or travel requestor with administrative tasks related to travel. May include preparing travel requests, making bookings and purchases and preparing a traveller's claim for reimbursement.

Travel approver

  • an employee of the department, Tier 6 financial delegate or above. The travel approver supervises or has a higher tier of financial delegation than the traveller(s) and travel requestor
  • before travel is booked or commences, reviews and approves the travel request. This must include assessing the need for travel, considering the conditions that must be satisfied in the Overview above
  • ensures travel expenses are for official purposes and are in accordance with the conditions of employment and departmental policies and procedures
  • retains appropriate records of all decisions and approvals.

Expense approver

  • an employee of the department that supervises, or has a higher tier of financial delegation than the traveller and travel requestor. Approves the expenses associated with an approved travel request within financial and, if applicable, HR delegations.

Light aircraft charter approver

  • a Director or above (central office), Regional Director or Assistant Regional Director (regional office) that approves charter of light aircraft provided they supervise or have a higher tier of financial delegation than the traveller(s) and travel requestor.

Director-General travel approver

  • the Assistant Director-General, Finance, Procurement and Facilities and Chief Finance Officer approves the Director-General's domestic travel and expenses.

Director-General

  • approve, or delegate approval to the Executive Director Office of the Director-General, the travel and expenses of employees that report directly to the Director-General in the Department of Education Organisational Structure (DoE employees only)
  • approves departmentally funded airline club membership for employees other than the Director-General
  • approves business class travel for employees other than the Director-General
  • approves valet parking expenses for employees other than the Director-General, except where it is required for travellers with relevant medical conditions or physical disabilities.

Process

Domestic travel

The attached Domestic travel process flowchart provides an overview of the process for planning, approving and undertaking official travel, and claiming travel expenses. Official travel must be approved by a travel approver before travel is booked or commences, regardless of the funding source of the travel.

1. Plan travel

For non-departmental travellers, the business unit sponsoring the official travel must plan the travel on behalf of the traveller.

Traveller or travel requestor:

  • assess the need for travel, considering the conditions that must be met in the Overview section of this procedure
  • review the below "Additional considerations when planning travel" and incorporate applicable considerations into travel plans and request

Traveller, travel requestor or travel booker:

  • estimate the expenses for the travel. Information to estimate expenses can be found on QTravel resource site, the Corporate Travel Management (CTM) Portal, and by referring to Directive 09/11 – Domestic travelling and relieving expenses and other applicable directives.
  • prepare a travel request including an estimate of the expenses, either for a program of travel or a single trip. There is no prescribed format for a travel request, however it must include:
    • the destination and purpose of each trip
    • the number and level of departmental officers that will be travelling, and details and reasons for any non-departmental persons travelling on each trip
    • the preferred method for travellers on each trip to pay for travel related expenses. For example, whether traveller(s) would like to claim an allowance, receive a payment for estimated actuals paid in advance, claim for reimbursement of actual expenses in arrears, and/or use a corporate card.
    • any recommendation to purchase travel insurance (refer to "additional considerations when planning travel" section below)
    • details of any private travel components on each trip (refer to "additional considerations when planning travel" section below)
    • an estimate of the total anticipated travel expenses for the trip or program of travel, including an itemised breakdown of the estimate. For example, flights, accommodation, car hire, allowances etc.
  • follows the requirements detailed in the "use of private motor vehicles" section below, if relevant.

Traveller or travel requestor:

  • send the travel request to the relevant travel approver(s). Approval can be sought via briefing note or email. For guidance, refer to sample emails (DoE employees only).a

Additional considerations when planning travel:

Air travel

  • the Director-General may travel business class
  • the Director-General may approve (prior to travel) for other officers to travel business class if any of the following apply:
    • the employee is accompanying the Minister or Director-General who is travelling business class
    • the duration of the flight(s) exceeds two hours (not including waiting times for connecting flights)
    • the nature or frequency of duties warrants such usage
    • economy class is inappropriate due to a medical condition.
  • except with Ministerial approval, the department will not pay for the air travel of a person who is accompanying a traveller on official duties
  • travellers must consider alternatives to paying excess baggage such as couriering or posting material prior to departure. Personal excess baggage must be paid for by the traveller when not directly related to official travel
  • for travellers whose normal duties require them to travel three times a month (i.e. they are required to take three separate trips per month that include air travel), the Director-General may approve payment of the individual's membership in an Airline club
  • employees using their private funds can access the whole-of-government discount prices to join certain airline club schemes. Refer to Information for departmental staff – domestic travel (DoE employees only) for further information
  • chartering light aircraft can only occur if no commercial flights are available and the travel is imperative. Charter flights can be approved by a Director or above (central office), Regional Director or Assistant Regional Director (regional office), provided they are in a higher position than the traveller
  • refer to the Queensland Government Air Travel Policy for more details.

Ground travel

  • when it is operating, employees must use the Airtrain services when travelling between the Brisbane CBD and Brisbane's airport terminal, unless use of the Airtrain is impractical
  • refer to the Fleet management procedure for information about the use of departmental fleet vehicles and hire cars
  • travellers may use taxis or rideshare arrangements for ground travel, and must select the best value for money option
  • claims for valet expenses must be approved by the Director-General, or by a travel approver for travellers with a relevant medical condition or physical disability.

Accommodation

  • in accordance with Directive 09/11 – Domestic travelling and relieving expenses, accommodation must be at least consistent with a 3 star rating, except where this standard is not available at a particular centre
  • a higher standard of accommodation may be provided where appropriate (for example, for accommodation located at a conference venue, for a location of a hotel in relation to a work site and/or where competitive rates are negotiated with a higher rated establishment).

Private travel

  • private travel may be combined with official travel, for example to extend travel over a weekend
  • travellers may travel accompanied (for example by a family member or partner) if no additional expenses are incurred by the department, and the traveller's official duties are not adversely affected
  • to obtain approval for private travel from a travel approver, travellers or travel requestors must include details of any private travel components in the travel request 
  • any expenses related to the private travel component, including for an accompanying traveller, must be met by the traveller, not the department. This includes additional expenses for accommodation, or airfares where they are more expensive than they would have been were the travel booked only for the traveller's official travel
  • where a departmental employee combines official and private travel, Fringe Benefits Tax (DoE employees only) may apply.

Insurance

  • employees are insured for official travel in accordance with the Air travel indemnity policy and workers' compensation legislation
  • non-departmental travellers that are volunteers and Board and Committee members are insured through Queensland Government Insurance Fund (QGIF)
  • for contractors travelling, the travel booker or travel requestor must determine if the contract engagement includes the appropriate insurance coverage. Where coverage is not appropriate, determine if the department should purchase additional insurance or if the responsibility lies with the contracting firm
  • for all other non-departmental travellers, the travel booker or travel requestor must assess the terms of engagement and if the department is responsible for insurance coverage. If in doubt, seek advice from legal services.

2. Approve travel

Travel approver

A travel approver must be an employee of the department, Tier 6 financial delegate or above and supervisor of the traveller (and travel requestor where required). A travel approver:

  • can approve a travel request for a single trip, or a program of travel, before it commences if:
    • they have the appropriate financial delegation to approve the total estimate of expenses for the single trip or program of travel
    • they have the authority under the Human Resources Delegations manual to approve the relevant activities. For example, to approve the traveller's preferred method to pay for travel related expenses
    • the proposed travel or program of travel meets the conditions described in the "Overview" section of this procedure.
  • refers to sample travel approval emails (DoE employees only) as required
  • retains a record of their review of the application and approval/rejection.

Expense approver

An expense approver is a financial delegate who is in a higher classification than the traveller and travel requestor. The travel approver (Tier 6 financial delegate or above) and the expense approver can be the same person. The expense approver: 

  • must sight travel approval before approving any travel related expenses.
  • can approve expense payments within their financial delegation, and activities under their HR delegations, for the purpose of undertaking an approved single trip or program of travel, including:
    • purchasing items in the approved travel request (for example: flights, accommodation, car hire and/or advance payments of allowances/actuals that were included in an approved program of travel).
    • purchasing items where the cost of the same or closest available equivalent item(s) has increased in comparison to the estimate provided in the approved travel request
    • purchasing additional items that were not included in the approved travel request but are reasonably required for the travel (for example, to purchase car hire for travellers as part of an approved program of travel which was not included in the approved travel request)
    • payment of kilometric allowance to travellers where the use of a private motor vehicle for official travel was pre-approved by an appropriate HR delegate.
  • must not approve expense payments for items that require a new travel approval, that is:
    • change the destination or purpose of a trip
    • increase in the number of travellers on a trip
    • change in the private travel components on a trip.
  • when approving expenditure that increases the total estimated cost of a single trip or program of travel, must be able to demonstrate that the travel still meets the conditions required for travel (refer to the "overview" section of this procedure).

3. Book travel

Travel booker or traveller:

  • books travel in accordance with the approved travel request using the current supply arrangements. Refer to purchasing and procurement guidance on travel for official departmental business (DoE employees only). Supply arrangements for booking travel include QTravel, which is managed by Corporate Travel Management (CTM) Portal (DoE employees only).
  • ensures accommodation expenses are paid directly to the venue by the department/school (including by using a corporate card), unless circumstances require the traveller to pay the venue directly
  • maintains a record of the travel booking in accordance with the departmental record retention schedule (DoE employees only)
  • purchases travel insurance if approved (see "Additional considerations when planning travel" above).
  • assists traveller to request payment of travel expenses in accordance with Directive 09/11 – Domestic travelling and relieving expenses if they have been approved as an advance:

4. Acquit travel and claim expenses

Traveller

  • retains receipts for expenses incurred for corporate card reconciliations or claiming actual expenses, including incidentals, noting that travellers:
    • can claim the meal, accommodation and incidental allowances incurred in accordance with Directive 09/11 – Domestic travelling and relieving expenses and local requirements in schools and business units
    • under Directive 09/11 – Domestic travelling and relieving expenses, travellers can claim actual meal or accommodation expenses that exceed the prescribed allowance. Travellers may only claim actual meal expenses that exceed the prescribed allowance if the meal expenses for the whole trip exceed the total meal allowance for the whole trip
    • cannot claim or charge personal expenses to a department corporate card or the department under any circumstances. This includes expenses for approved private travel components, or expenses incurred by an accompanying traveller
    • cannot claim reimbursement for expenses that they do not pay for. For example, accommodation expenses paid directly by the department, meals provided at conferences, or complimentary breakfast at a hotel.
  • acquits expenses against a travel advance, with the assistance of the travel booker if required:
    • for central and regional office funded travel, using ProMaster (DoE employees only) within 30 days of the end of the trip (e.g. trip end date plus 30 days)
    • for school funded travel, using this Domestic travel expenses acquittal form (DoE employees only) within 14 days of the end of the trip (e.g. trip end date plus 14 days)
    • for non-departmental travellers undertaking domestic travel related to representative school sport, using this Domestic travel expenses claim form for RSS (DoE employees only)
  • if payment in arrears was approved, traveller or travel booker processes claims for reimbursement:
    • for central and regional office funded travel, using ProMaster (DoE employees only)
    • for school funded travel, using this domestic travel expenses claim form (DoE employees only). Note school funded travel reimbursement is processed through the OneSchool finance system. 
    • for non-departmental travellers funded by central and regional office, using this domestic travel expenses claim form 
    • for non-departmental travellers funded by schools, using direct invoice reimbursement process, through the OneSchool finance system.
    • for same day travel allowances, using this travel expense claim form (domestic and international) (DoE employees only). Note this cannot be claimed through ProMaster.
    • for private motor expenses, refer to the next section
  • if the traveller combines official and private travel, provides details, including approval and expenses, to the Taxation Team for Fringe Benefits Tax assessment and reporting purposes.

Expense approver

The expense approver must be a financial delegate who is more highly classified than the traveller. The travel approver (Tier 6 financial delegate or above) and the expense approver can be the same person. The expense approver:

  • can approve expense payments within their financial delegation which were incurred during the approved travel, including:
  • an expense approver with an appropriate HR delegation may approve travel expenses and allowances claimed more than 12 months after travel occurred
  • retains a record of their review and their decision to approve/reject.

Use of a private motor vehicle

Under Directive 20/16 – Motor vehicle allowances, travellers may be entitled to a motor vehicle allowance when they choose to use their private motor vehicle for official purposes. If a traveller is required to use their private motor vehicle for official purposes, the applicable allowance is:

Traveller

Expense approver (or travel approver)

  • confirm that private use of a motor vehicle for official purposes was appropriately approved
  • approve an expense claim for kilometric allowances if it is made within 12 months
  • if they have an appropriate HR delegation, approves an expense claim for kilometric allowance claimed more than 12 months after travel occurred. If not, they can refer the decision to an appropriate HR delegate in their reporting line. 

Definitions

Term

Definition

Value for money

Decisions about travel expenses have regard to cost, and other relevant considerations such as the department’s business needs and the traveller's safety.

Travellers are not expected to undertake extensive itineraries or compromise their safety or security in order to reduce the cost to the department.

Official travel

Departmental-approved travel required for departmental and/or government business.

Excludes local trips that occur within the same day, for example using fleet cars or other ground travel.

Personal/private travel

Travel that is not official travel related to the department or government business.

Professional development

Learning opportunities officially approved by the department, undertaken to improve an individual’s ability to perform their role and grow as a professional.

Program of travel

Travel that is planned in advance for multiple trips over a period of time, which may include multiple different officers and locations. 

A program of travel may only be approved for a period of up to three months in advance, i.e., all individual trips included in a program of travel must occur within a 3-month period.

QTravel and Corporate Travel Management (CTM)

QTravel is the whole of government solution for booking air travel, accommodation and car hire. The current whole-of-government provider is CTM.

Same day travel allowances

For travel that starts and ends on the same day, meal allowances may be payable but, unlike overnight travel, these are taxable.

Same day allowances are administered by Payroll Services and a different Travel expense claim form (domestic and international) is used.

Travel booker

Travel bookers assist travellers with travel bookings and other activities related to official travel.

Internal agency contacts are available via Travel.SCHOOLS@qed.qld.gov.au (for schools) and Travel.CORPORATE@qed.qld.gov.au (for regional/central).

Travel expenses

Any fees, allowances or expenses associated with or incidental to official travel including fares, accommodation, meals, incidental expenses, vehicle hire, travel allowances paid in advance or arrears, same-day travel meal allowances and motor-vehicle kilometric allowances.

Traveller

A departmental employee or non-departmental person travelling on or in relation to departmental business where travel expenses are:

  • either fully or partially met by the department (including expenses and allowances), or
  • funded from other sources, for example fee for service activities such as a student camp, where expenses are covered by a conference organiser, grants and other funds.

Non-departmental persons may include:

  • the department’s clients, e.g. students and escorts
  • consultants and contractors
  • job candidates
  • members of official delegations.

Legislation

Delegations/Authorisations

Other resources

Policies and procedures

Forms and systems

Further information

Superseded versions

Previous seven years shown. Minor version updates not included.

1.0 Domestic travel

2.0 Domestic travel

Review date

23 January 2026
Attribution CC BY
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