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Domestic travel procedure

Version number 2.2 | Version effective 08 August 2022
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Domestic travel procedure

Audience

All departmental employees and non-Queensland Government employees travelling within Australia on behalf of, and at the expense of, the department.

Purpose

This procedure describes the processes to be followed and entitlements for official travel within Australia.
Refer to separate procedures for provisions for international travel (DoE employees only).

Overview

Official travel must:

  • advance the achievement of Queensland Government priorities
  • benefit the department
  • be undertaken only after exploring alternatives to travel (such as videoconferencing)
  • not duplicate activities of other agencies
  • use the best price and service level.

Departmental employees undertaking official travel are entitled to travelling expenses in accordance with the Domestic travelling and relieving expenses – Directive 09/11. The department applies the same entitlements to non-Queensland Government employees travelling on behalf of, and at the expense of, the department.

Responsibilities

Travellers (departmental employees and non-Queensland Government employees)

  • Maintain complete records of travel and associated costs for attachment to any travel expense claims and/or Corporate Card statements.

Travel approving officers

  • Approve all official travel (regardless of the source of funds for the travel) before the travel commences
  • Ensure that travel meets the conditions outlined in the Overview section of this procedure
  • Retain written records of all approvals for audit purposes.

Travel administrators

  • Assist travellers to make official travel bookings.

Assistant Director-General, Finance and Chief Finance Officer

  • Travel approving officer and Financial delegate for travel undertaken by the Director-General (DG).

Director-General

  • Consider applications from officers making a case to travel other than best value economy class fare
  • Approve departmentally funded airline club membership for staff other than the DG
  • Approve light aircraft hire.

Director or above (central office); Regional Director or Deputy Regional Director (regional office)

  • Approve light aircraft charter.

Financial delegates approving travel expenses

  • Ensure that expenses claimed are for official purposes and are in accordance with the conditions of employment and departmental policy.

Process

The attached Travel process flowchart provides an overview of the process for arranging, undertaking and claiming expenses for official domestic travel.

1. Decide to travel

When a departmental employee is considering travel for themselves or another person (including for non-Queensland Government employees), the decision must take into account the requirements listed in the Overview, above.

Combining official and private travel

  • Travellers may combine private and official travel, for example to extend travel over a weekend, or while on approved leave. Any expenses incurred as a result of the private travel component must be met by the traveller, for example additional accommodation, or where airfares are more expensive than they would have been for the official travel component only
  • Where a departmental employee combines official and private travel, there may be Fringe benefits tax implications (DoE employees only).

Travelling accompanied

  • Travellers may travel accompanied (for example, by a family member or partner), providing that:
    • no additional expenses are incurred by the department
    • the traveller’s official duties are not adversely affected.
  • Where an employee travels accompanied, there may be Fringe benefits tax implications (DoE employees only).

2. Estimate costs

The traveller or a person nominated by the traveller must estimate the cost of the travel to allow the Travel approving officer to make an informed decision. For non-Queensland Government employees, this step will be undertaken by the business unit sponsoring the travel. Cost estimates may be based on the total travel budget for a program of travel, or a more specific estimate for a particular trip.

3. Obtain approval

All official travel and all anticipated expenses must be pre-approved by a travel approving officer, regardless of the funding source for the travel. The approval process is not intended to be onerous: approval can be sought and granted by email. A single approval may be issued for:

  • centrally instigated travel (e.g. for multiple travellers’ attendance at a meeting or conference)
  • travel relating to a program of work (e.g. for an audit or review program), or
  • multiple travellers with the same or similar itineraries (e.g. for multiple officers undertaking the same professional development program).

Sample emails (DoE employees only) are provided for seeking and granting approvals in a variety of circumstances. These are provided as examples only, and may be adapted or replaced. The overriding principle is that the approval process should be as simple as possible, while providing evidence that the travel has been authorised.

4. Make travel arrangements and book

The traveller or a person nominated by the traveller must book travel in accordance with the approval granted. All travel must be booked using the best value fare. (See also Class of travel, below.)

QTravel is the whole-of-government solution for booking air travel, accommodation and car hire. All official travel must be booked through QTravel unless significant savings and benefits that would be justifiable to the General Goods and Services Procurement Category Council (Qld Govt employees only) can be demonstrated by booking outside the arrangement.

Travel administrators exist throughout the department to assist with booking travel. To check if you have a travel administrator–

  • in your school: search by your school name in the schools database (DoE employees only)
  • in your workplace: search by your cost centre in the corporate database (DoE employees only).

Training (DoE employees only) on QTravel is available for departmental staff.

Information is also available for travel administrators about booking travel (employee and non-employee) for:

Ground travel

Airtrain

Employees must use the Airtrain service when travelling to and from the Brisbane CBD and Brisbane’s airport terminals during the operating hours of the service. Exceptions must be approved by the travel approving officer on evidence that it is (or was) impractical to use the Airtrain service.

Departmental fleet vehicles

Refer to Fleet management for information about the use of departmental fleet vehicles.

Cabcharge or rideshare

Taxis (DoE employees only) and rideshare arrangements (DoE employees only) are both options for ground travel. Travellers should choose the option that represents the best value for money based on their travelling needs.

Private vehicles

Departmental staff using their private vehicle for official travel are entitled to claim kilometric allowance (DoE employees only). Kilometric allowance is paid through the payroll system as it is subject to Fringe Benefits Tax (DoE employees only).

To claim kilometric allowance for official travel in a private vehicle for non-Queensland Government employees, the departmental business unit arranging the travel will manually calculate kilometric allowance and pay through the direct invoice process (DoE employees only).

Use of valet parking must be approved by the Director-General where there are any additional expenses.

Hire cars

Refer to fleet management for information about when use of hire cars is appropriate.

All non-school accounts for Avis, Budget and Hertz car hire are charged to the American Express Business Travel Accounts (BTA) and paid centrally through Finance Branch. Individual schools will manage and pay for hire car arrangements through normal procurement and payment processes.

Air travel

Airline club memberships and loyalty points

The department will fund airline club membership for the DG and other employees who fly at least three times a month for official purposes. Departmentally funded airline club membership for staff other than the DG requires DG approval.

Memberships are not transferrable between departments. Officers with departmentally-funded airline club membership must notify the relevant airline and travel.corporate@qed.qld.gov.au to cancel their airline club membership if they leave the department.

The Queensland Government has established a whole-of-government arrangement with QANTAS and Virgin Australia for airline club membership. Employees can receive the government discount when joining the scheme using personal funds.

Information on how to access the Queensland Government price for privately funded airline club membership is available for departmental staff on the department’s intranet (DoE employees only).

Travellers may accrue airline loyalty points through official travel, and may use those points for either official or personal travel. Travellers must not make decisions to travel, or decisions about modes of travel, with a view to maximising loyalty point benefits.

Class of travel

The DG may travel business class and may approve (prior to travel) for other officers to travel business class if:

  • the employee is accompanying the Minister or DG, who is travelling business class
  • the travel exceeds two hours, not including waiting time for connecting flights
  • the nature or frequency of duties warrants such usage, or
  • economy class travel is inappropriate due to a medical condition.

Private charter

Official air travel is usually undertaken via normal commercial flights. Chartering private planes should only occur if no commercial flights are available and the travel is imperative, and must be approved by a Director or above in central office, or a Regional Director or Deputy Regional Director in a regional office. Only the DG can approve the hire of light aircraft.

A whole-of-government Standing Offer Arrangement is available for Services of a Broker to manage the chartering of fixed and rotary wing aircraft.

Potential cost savings may be available where spare seating capacity on a chartered aircraft or empty legs can be used by other Queensland Government customers. A 'closed user' database allows eligible customers to view future Queensland Government charters that have already been booked and that have spare seating capacity or empty legs. Each agency may choose whether to allow their charters to be viewed for sharing opportunities. Further information, including a link to the database and a User/Buyers Guide on booking process and the Arrangement is available on the Queensland Contracts Directory.

5. Undertake travel

Insurance

Personal accident indemnity is provided by all commercial airlines for all passengers, and Queensland Treasury’s Air travel indemnity policy provides cover for all Queensland Government employees injured or killed in an aircraft accident while on official duties.

Employees undertaking official travel are covered by workers’ compensation cover. Members of departmental councils, boards and committees are covered under the insurance policies with the Queensland Government Insurance Fund while engaged in official council, board or committee business.

Further personal cover for domestic travel, including for private travel attached to official travel, is at the officer’s discretion and expense.

Excess baggage

Travellers must consider alternatives to carrying excess baggage, such as couriering or posting material. Personal excess baggage not directly related to official travel must be paid for by the traveller.

6. Claim expenses

Travellers are compensated for the cost of meals and incidentals while travelling on official business in accordance with the Domestic travelling and relieving expenses - Directive (09/11).

Accommodation expenses are paid directly by the department. However, if the traveller is unable to book accommodation through QTravel or Corporate Card and pays their accommodation personally, they can claim reimbursement of actual accommodation expenses.

Travellers cannot claim travelling allowance for expenses that are paid directly by the department – such as for accommodation or for meals provided at conferences.

Expenses can be paid:

  • in arrears, by submitting a domestic travel expenses claim form (DoE employees only)
    • Non‑departmental employees who wish to claim expenses related to official travel should seek a copy of the claim form from the departmental business unit arranging the travel.
  • by charging actual expenses directly to the department, for example using a Queensland Government Corporate Card (DoE employees only). Note that personal expenses (over and above travel entitlements) must not be charged to a corporate card under any circumstances
  • in advance, and acquitted no more than 30 days after travelling.

Where actual costs are reimbursed, tax invoices (or invoices/receipts for transactions valued less than $82.50 including GST) for all expenses must be attached to the Domestic travel expenses claim form to support the department’s entitlement to a GST input tax credit.

Definitions

Term

Definition

Approving officers

Must pre-approve official travel and associated expenses. Approving officers must hold a Finance Delegation of, at a minimum, Tier 6 (AO8 or equivalent) or above and be more highly classified than the officer travelling.

Approving officers must also approve any claims for reimbursement of travel expenses.

For principals of independent public schools, the approving officer is the Director-General or Deputy Director‑General, State Schools. For all other school principals, the approving officer is the Regional Director.

Best value fare

The lowest cost fare available at the time of booking to suit the department’s business needs and traveller’s entitlements. Best value is determined having regard not only to fares but also other relevant costs, such as accommodation and waiting time. Travellers are not expected to undertake circuitous itineraries or to travel in circumstances where there are unacceptable safety or security concerns in order to access lower fares.

Departmental employee travel

Means official travel by an employee where the employee’s travel costs are:

  • either fully or partially met by the department (including expenses and allowances), or
  • funded from other sources, e.g. fee for service activities, full costs covered by a conference organiser, grants and other funds.

Non-Queensland Government employee travel

Means official travel on or in relation to, departmental business where travel costs are fully or partially met by the department for:

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

Official travel

Means departmental-approved travel for departmental and/or government business.

Excludes local, same-day trips, for example using fleet cars or other ground travel.

Travel costs

Means any costs, fees, allowances or expenses associated with or incidental to official travel, including, but not limited to, fares, accommodation, meals and incidental expenses.

Legislation

  • Nil

Delegations/Authorisations

  • All travel and expenses must be approved by a Finance delegate at, at a minimum, Tier 6 (AO8 or equivalent) or above who is more highly classified than the officer travelling
  • For principals of independent public schools, the approving officer is the Director-General or Deputy Director‑General, State Schools; for all other school principals, the approving officer is the Regional Director
  • The Assistant Director-General, Finance and Chief Finance Officer approves travel and related expenses for the Director-General
  • Directors and above in central office, and Regional Directors and Deputy Regional Directors in regional offices can approve light aircraft charter
  • The Director-General must approve:
    • travel other than economy class for staff other than the DG
    • departmentally funded airline club membership for staff other than the DG
    • light aircraft hire.

Other resources

Superseded versions

Previous seven years shown. Minor version updates not included.

1.0 Domestic travel

2.0 Domestic travel

Review date

15 May 2022
Attribution CC BY
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