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Travel Policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) The University recognises that travel is an important enabler for its teaching, learning, research, engagement and administration activities. Staff members and students may be required to undertake intrastate, interstate and/or international travel as part of University business.

(2) Travel bookings and approvals must follow the University’s established processes. Travel requires accountable and transparent practices to ensure that the University’s duty of care to travellers is maintained and its prudential, legal and tax obligations are complied with. Travellers have an obligation under the University’s Code of Conduct - Staff to comply with this and other Governance documents while undertaking their duties.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) The purpose of the Policy is to:

  1. support staff and others to effectively and efficiently manage travel arrangements and associated expenses on behalf of the University;
  2. adopt the highest standards of safety and wellbeing for travellers; and
  3. ensure that travel is only made when essential for achieving the University’s objectives.
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Section 3 - Scope

(4) This Policy applies to all University travel arrangements and to all travellers who travel on official University business, regardless of the source of funds, duration of the travel or business purpose. This may include, but is not limited to, staff members, persons accompanying staff members who are representing or engaged in University business, students, adjuncts, associates, including members of Council, consultants and other persons and/or visitors whose travel is associated with and paid for by the University.

(5) Travel is defined as a destination of more than 50km from the traveller’s normal place of work or residence, or where an overnight stay is necessary from the travellers normal place of residence.

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Section 4 - Policy

(6) To achieve the University’s strategic goal on prioritising environmental and organisational sustainablity, travellers should reduce our carbon footprint by considering alternatives to undertaking travel such as teleconferencing and video-conferencing. University resources must be used efficiently to ensure costs are minimised.

Environmental Sustainability

(7) In order to reduce the University’s greenhouse emissions, travellers should consider the following:

  1. Reduce or eliminate flights by using technology
  2. Plan travel requirements over 12 months and minimise total trips and distance
  3. Car pool where practical by coordinating with other travellers and use public transport

Pre-approval

(8) Pre-approval is required on all travel, including travel at no cost to the University, prior to commencing a travel booking. Evidence must be retained by both the traveller and approving delegate for audit and record management purposes.

Bookings

(9) To assist the University in maintaining its duty of care obligations, all authorised travel must be booked or recorded and approved in the University’s online booking tool. This includes the following types of travel:

  1. flights on commercial carriers to domestic or international destinations;
  2. accommodation;
  3. car hire, including the use of University fleet or personal vehicles, bus hire;
  4. air Charters; and
  5. field trips and travel to remote areas.

(10) Travel must be booked in economy class at the lowest fare available at the time of booking for the journey, that reasonably meets the business needs of the traveller, unless there are exceptional circumstances such as a documented medical condition or current written employment contract.

(11) For further guidance on booking, recording and approving travel refer to Frequently Asked Questions, Smart Approve Workflow Field Trip and Smart Approve Workflow International.

Expenses

(12) Travellers must ensure that any expenditure they incur while travelling is for legitimate University business purposes. Incidental costs such as meals and transportation will be reimbursed by the University in accordance with the approved methods under the University’s Enterprise Agreement, for example, Travel Allowance, Corporate Purchasing Card or Expense Reimbursements. Expenses of a personal nature will not be reimbursed.

(13) In the case of external grant funded travel, travellers may have agreed expenses covered by a cash advance, which must be acquitted upon return.

Approval

(14) Delegation to approve travel is listed in the Delegation Register. A traveller must not approve their own travel or travel expenses. Staff members must not approve travel or travel expenses for an individual to whom they report.

(15) Pre-approval must be obtained prior to booking any travel. Failure to obtain approval prior to booking travel that is subsequently considered unreasonable or unnecessary may result in disciplinary action and the University recovering costs from the traveller.

Private Travel

(16) The practice of combining private travel with official travel is not encouraged. However, Travel Approvers may review and approve incidental private travel on a case by case basis, which must not result in any additional cost to the University. The University has an obligation to comply with the Fringe Benefits Tax Act 1986 (FBT) and it’s insurance policies.

(17) Where private travel is approved in conjunction with official travel, the following requirements must be met:

  1. It can demonstrate that the dominant reason for the travel is for University business and that the private component is secondary. For the avoidance of doubt the official component of the travel must be at least 60%;
  2. A travel diary is maintained;
  3. Travel Insurance must be obtained that covers the private component of the trip as the University’s travel insurance policy does not extend to cover private travel; and
  4. All costs associated with the private travel, including travel insurance, airfares etc are paid for separately by the traveller and not charged to the University.

Travel Diary

(18) It is an Australian Taxation Office requirement that all travellers keep a Travel Diary for travel that exceeds six (6) consecutive nights or includes any private travel.

Remote Travel/Field Trips

(19) Air travel to remote locations must only be in an aircraft operated by an air charter company which is duly licensed for the regular transportation of fare paying passengers. Travellers must not pilot a personal or leased aircraft or travel using a private plane or non-approved air charter unless an exception is granted by the Vice-Chancellor.

(20) Where remote travel requires chartering flights, travellers should always attempt to coordinate their travel with other business units, government agencies or organisations in order to share the cost of the charter flights and other transport.

Insurance

(21) The University maintains corporate travel insurance that provides cover for travellers on approved University business only.

Health and Safety

(22) Reasonable steps must be taken by a traveller to ensure they are fit to travel and that they avoid doing anything that creates or increases the risk to their health and safety. As a representative of the University, the traveller must ensure that their behaviour is at all times appropriate to the purpose of the travel, compliant with local laws and customs and consistent with the University’s Code of Conduct - Staff.

(23) In the event of a significant incident such as, but not limited to, civil unrest or natural disaster whilst travelling, the traveller must follow any advice issued by the relevant local authorities and/or the University.

Travel Warnings/Restrictions

(24) Travel will not be approved to areas with a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade travel warning of 'Do not travel' or 'Reconsider your need to travel' or if insurance cover is unavailable, unless specific approval is provided by the Vice-Chancellor.

(25) Risks are to be assessed and managed in accordance with the University's work health and safety obligations and taken into consideration prior to approval and again before departure.

Lounge/Frequent Flyer Memberships

(26) Lounge / Frequent Flyer Memberships is the responsibility of the individual traveller except where the employment contract allows for this cost to be covered by the University.

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Section 5 - Non-compliance

(27) Non-compliance with Governance Documents is considered a breach of the Code of Conduct - Staff or the Code of Conduct - Students, as applicable, and is treated seriously by the University. Reports of concerns about non-compliance will be managed in accordance with the applicable disciplinary procedures.

(28) All staff members have an individual responsibility to raise any suspicion, allegation or report of fraud or corruption in accordance with the Fraud and Corruption Control Governnce Framework, Fraud and Corruption Control Policy and Whistleblower Reporting (Improper Conduct) Procedure.