You are here
4.4.5 Travelling to and from Duty
Injury accepted if travelling to or from duty
An injury, disease or death may be accepted as defence-caused if it resulted from an accident that occurred while the member was travelling to a place for the purpose of performing duty or from a place upon having ceased to perform duty.
What does a journey involve?
The journey may be a short trip to or from the member's home or living accommodation or may extend over days depending on the purpose of the journey. The journey commences from the time a person leaves the building in which duty is performed or the time a person leaves their residence. This means that accidents in a person's yard may be covered if the person has taken the first steps of the journey. The journey is not completed until its final destination is reached whether this be a few minutes after commencement or many days such as occurs when service personnel drive interstate for leave.
Establishing whether the journey was for the purpose of duty
When establishing whether a journey was for the purpose of duty, the factors to be considered are:
- was the journey to a place for the purpose of performing duty or away from a place upon having ceased to perform duty,
- had the member delayed commencing the journey for a considerable period after ceasing to perform duty,
- was the nature of the risk of sustaining injury or contracting a disease substantially changed or the nature of the risk substantially increased by the delay,
- was the journey by a route that was reasonably direct,
- was the nature of the risk of sustaining injury or contracting a disease substantially changed or the nature of the risk substantially increased by that route,
- was there a substantial interruption in the journey, and
- was the nature of the risk of sustaining injury or contracting a disease substantially changed or the nature of the risk substantially increased by that interruption.
Example – travelling after recreation
Travelling back to barracks accommodation on a Friday night after going out for recreation was not considered to be travelling 'to a place for the purpose of performing duty' in the case of Hopper (AAT 27 January 1988), as the member was not required on duty until the Monday morning.
Example – delaying journey
Delaying the start of a journey until the Saturday morning and then detouring by a route that added three hours to the journey was not considered to have substantially altered the risk in the case of Alcock (AAT 30 June 1992). But staying at Eildon for many hours so that the rest of the journey occurred after dark was considered to have altered the risk.
Journey interrupted by domestic activity
If the journey is interrupted by a domestic activity and the accident occurs during that activity, the nature of the risk has been altered.
Example - journey interrupted by domestic activity
A member travels to work by car. They started to drive their car down the drive and then noted that he had left the wheelbarrow full of soil partly across the drive. He got out of the car to move the wheelbarrow and injured his back. In a similar case the Tribunal found that the injury was not related to his defence service as he had interrupted his journey to carry out a domestic task.
According to subsection 5D(1), an injury means any physical or mental injury (including the recurrence of a physical or mental injury) but does not include:
- a disease, or
- the aggravation of a physical or mental injury.
According to subsection 5D(1), disease means:
- any physical or mental ailment, disorder, defect or morbid condition (whether of sudden onset or gradual development), or
- the recurrence of such an ailment, disorder, defect or morbid condition,
but does not include:
- the aggravation of such an ailment, disorder, defect or morbid condition, or
- a temporary departure from:
the normal physiological state, or
the accepted ranges of physiological or biochemical measures,
that results from normal physiological stress (for example, the effect of exercise on blood pressure) or the temporary effect of extraneous agents (for example, alcohol on blood cholesterol levels).
Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
Administrative Appeals Tribunal.