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Travel Policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) Charles Darwin University (‘the University’, ‘CDU’) 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 Code of Conduct - Employees to comply with this and other Governance documents while undertaking their duties.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) The purpose of this 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 (domestic or international) and to all travellers who travel on official University business, regardless of the source of funds, duration of the travel or business purpose.

  1. 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 away from the traveller’s 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. Carpool where practical by coordinating with other travellers and using 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.

  1. International travel requests must be submitted for pre-approval with as much notice as possible prior to the proposed date of travel.
  2. International travel requests must be submitted to the Chancellor, the Vice-Chancellor, a Senior Executive, or the Director CDU Global, in line with the Delegations Register.

(9) Evidence must be retained by both the traveller and approving delegate for audit and record management purposes.

(10) The bookings of any associated travel arrangements, such as airfares, accommodation and conference bookings must not be made prior to the approval of the travel being granted.

Bookings

(11) 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.

(12) 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, current written employment contract, or approval by the Vice-Chancellor or Chancellor.

(13) For further guidance on booking, recording and approving travel refer to Travel forms and important information.

Expenses

(14) 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.

(15) 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

(16) Delegations to approve domestic and international travel are listed in the Delegations 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.

(17) 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.

(18) The relevant organisational unit will be responsible for funding the staff member’s approved travel arrangements, except where otherwise stated in this policy.

Private travel

(19) The practice of combining private travel with official travel is not encouraged. Where private travel is requested in conjunction with official university travel, the reason for travel is determined based on the numbers of days between private and official travel:

  1. Incidental private travel: Private travel is considered incidental to official travel where the private  component is less than 30 per cent of the total travel period. The traveller will not be required to make a co-payment towards the cost of airfares or travel insurance as long as the private component does not result in increased cost to the university.
  2. Dual purpose travel: The travel is considered to be dual purpose where the number of private days is more than 30% and less than 50% of the total travel period.  Where travel is dual purpose, the costs between official and private will be apportioned and the traveller will be required to pay the private component calculated as follows: 
  3. Co-contribution on Dual purpose travel: 
    1. Airfares - the traveller will be required to pay 50% of the cost of return airfares between place of residence and destination of the last day of official travel 
    2. Accommodation and other incidental costs relating to private days is the responsibility of the traveller. 
  4. Where the number of private travel days exceeds 50% of the trip, the reason for travel will be regarded as private and the traveller will be required to pay 100% of the costs associated with the travel. 

(20) Travellers must ensure, before their travel is booked, that any leave for private travel has been requested and approved.

(21) In approving dual purpose travel, travel approvers should ensure that private days do not interfere with the University's official business requirements of the trip, including returning to report outcomes, and should be incidental to the business requirement.

(22) Travellers approved for dual purpose travel must ensure that travel insurance is obtained to cover the private component of the trip as the University’s travel insurance policy does not extend to cover private travel.

Accompanied travel 

(23) Family and friends accompanying staff members on official travel is not encouraged. In exceptional circumstances a partner and/or dependent(s) may accompany a University traveller provided that:

  1. supervisor approval has been received prior to making any commitments; 
  2. the business/activity of the University is not compromised; and
  3. any expenses incurred for the accompanied travel are privately funded.

(24) Individuals approved for accompanied travel are responsible for obtaining their own insurances.

Travel diary

(25) It is an Australian Taxation Office requirement that all travellers keep a Travel Diary for travel that:

  1. exceeds six (6) consecutive nights; or
  2. includes any private travel.

Remote travel/field trips

(26) 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.

(27) 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.

International travel (all travel outside of Australia)

Passport and visa requirements

(28) It is the traveller’s responsibility to ensure they have an up-to-date passport with an expiry date extending at least six months beyond the period of travel.

  1. Passport costs are the responsibility of the traveller, unless otherwise approved by the University.

(29) Visa costs associated with travel for business will be covered by the University.

  1. Any additional visa costs associated with private travel are the responsibility of the traveller.

Vaccinations

(30) Travellers are responsible for ensuring all immunisation and health guidance per the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recommendations are appropriately adhered to.

  1. Costs related to required vaccinations for travel on behalf of the University will be reimbursed by the University. 
  2. Any vaccinations required for private travel are at the cost of the traveller. 

Insurance

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

  1. A traveller approved for incidental private travel must obtain separate personal travel insurance which covers the entire duration of the trip. The traveller’s private travel insurance cover is the primary insurance plan under which a staff member makes a claim if the injury or loss occurs while on private component.
  2. Personal travel insurance must be arranged privately for an approved accompanying person. 
  3. Travellers should enquire the status of cover in relation to COVID19 as policies available in the market continue to evolve.

Health and safety

(32) 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 - Employees.

(33) 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

(34) 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.

(35) 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

(36) Lounge and frequent flyer memberships are 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

(37) 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 outlined in the Charles Darwin University and Union Enterprise Agreement 2022 and the Code of Conduct – Students.

(38) Complaints may be raised in accordance with the Code of Conduct – Staff and Code of Conduct - Students.

(39) 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 Policy and Whistleblower Reporting (Improper Conduct) Procedure.