Victoria government logo

The Tribunal’s MP Guidelines set rules and eligibility criteria for the use of the EO&C Budget and, as permitted by legislation, the following allowances provided to MPs [The Tribunal is not permitted to make guidelines for or with respect to the use of electorate allowances, expense allowances and the motor vehicle allowance, including terms or conditions relating to the use of these allowances. VIRTIPS Act, s. 36(2)]:

  • PASA
  • travel allowance
  • commercial transport allowance
  • international travel allowance.

The MP Guidelines currently in effect are the Members of Parliament (Victoria) Guidelines No. 1/2022.

The Tribunal will consider whether amendments are needed to the MP Guidelines as part of making the 2023 Determination.

Parliamentary accommodation sitting allowance

The MP Guidelines set out eligibility criteria for the PASA. To be eligible for this allowance an MP must [Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal (2022c), p. 23]:

  • maintain a dwelling [To claim the PASA, an MP must wholly maintain the dwelling for a period not less than the aggregate number of sitting days of their House of Parliament in a calendar year] (i.e. their second, parliamentary residence) that is located within 28km of the intersection of Elizabeth Street and Bourke Street — in the Guidelines, that intersection is referred to as the ‘Melbourne centre’, and the area within a 28km radius of the ‘Melbourne centre’ is referred to as the ‘metropolitan area’
  • have a primary residence that is located outside a radius of 80km from the ‘Melbourne centre’ (or satisfy the Clerk of their Chamber of Parliament that the shortest practicable route by road from their primary residence to the ‘Melbourne centre’ exceeds 80km)
  • represent an electorate listed in Schedule 1 of the MP Guidelines.

Travel allowance

The MP Guidelines state that MPs may claim the travel allowance for travel costs actually incurred to perform their public duties within Australia. Claimable travel costs include the cost of staying in commercial accommodation (hotels, motels, clubs, serviced properties or any other commercial property offering accommodation services to the public), as well as meals and incidental expenses [Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal (2022c), pp. 4-5].

Generally, MPs may only claim the travel allowance if the location of the overnight stay is a certain distance from their primary residence (at least 28km or 80km, depending on the reason for the MP’s travel). However, the Guidelines also permit MPs to stay overnight in the metropolitan area where there is a break of less than 10 hours between parliamentary sittings [Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal (2022c), pp. 24-25].

Commercial transport allowance

The MP Guidelines state that MPs may claim the commercial transport allowance for transport costs actually incurred to perform their public duties within Australia [Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal (2022c), p. 26]. The MP Guidelines provide that claimable transport costs include [Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal (2022c), pp. 4-5]:

  • costs required for a person to travel by commercial transport — defined as ‘transit with an operator that, for remuneration, provides scheduled or non‑scheduled transport services to the public for the carriage of passengers’
  • parking fees at a Victorian airport.

The MP Guidelines prohibit MPs from claiming the commercial transport allowance for transport services provided by family members, public sector employees, electorate officers, ministerial officers or parliamentary advisers [Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal (2022c), p. 4].

Subject to limited exceptions, this allowance cannot be used for travel by motor vehicle in Victoria. MPs are expected to use their motor vehicle, motor vehicle allowance or access to free public transport to meet their transport costs in Victoria. The MP Guidelines do, however, enable certain MPs, depending on the location of the MP’s primary residence, to claim the commercial transport allowance for travel to the Parliament of Victoria [Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal (2022c), p. 26].

International travel allowance

The MP Guidelines state that an MP may claim this allowance for the cost of transport, accommodation, meals and incidentals incurred when they are required to travel outside of Australia to perform their public duties [Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal (2022c), p. 27]. The MP Guidelines provide rules about what types of accommodation expenses MPs may claim from the international travel allowance (Box 5.1) [Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal (2022c), p. 27].

Box 5.1: MP Guidelines — accommodation expenses that may be claimed

Time

  • days on which business is conducted and when single night accommodation is necessary due to flight connections
  • one day prior to the business day
  • one day after the business day in those instances where departure on the last business day is not practical
  • for days when travel occurs between places of business
  • weekends where business occurs on the Friday and Monday either side of that weekend

Location

  • for the city or town where business is conducted, or for other locations when single night accommodation is necessary due to flight connections

Price

  • accommodation expenses claimed must not exceed the prices for a four star hotel as prescribed by the ECA International Accommodation Report for the relevant city

Source: Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal (2022c), pp. 27-28.

Electorate Office and Communications Budget

Consistent with the requirements of the PSAS Act, the MP Guidelines specify the types of expenditure that can and cannot be claimed on a reimbursement basis from the EO&C Budget [Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal (2022c), Part D].

The MP Guidelines prohibit MPs from using the EO&C Budget to fund party political activity. MPs are also prohibited from using the EO&C Budget for the dominant purpose of providing a personal benefit to, or pursuing a commercial purpose of, the MP or any other person or body [Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal (2022c), pp. 12-14].

An MP may carry over up to 50 per cent of their EO&C Budget allocation for a financial year (excluding any carry over from the previous financial year) to the next year, subject to the availability of funds and the approval of the Treasurer [Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal (2022c), p. 12].

Reviewed 15 December 2022

Was this page helpful?