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90.6 General rules that apply when a person is required to travel
Delegates should note that, in accordance with section 61, determinations relating to travel must be made in writing and sent to the client. For travel approved in the context of a rehabilitation program the written notice should take the form of the rehabilitation program. In other cases a separate formal determination is required.
The delegation level for approval of a rehabilitation program is at the APS 5 level. In all other cases, travel can be approved at the APS 3 level.
When accommodation costs are reasonably incurred?
The Commonwealth is liable to pay reasonable costs for a person's accommodation at a place where they are required to travel to obtain treatment, attend an assessment or for the purpose of a rehabilitation program. In order for payment to be justified, a number of qualifications must be met:
- the journey must be deemed “necessary”; and
- it is necessary for the person to remain at their destination; and
- the costs incurred are in relation to the accommodation at that place.
Compensation for journeys or accommodation outside of Australia should not be paid.
- when the person needs to travel more than 300km each way (600km return), therefore necessitating an overnight stay; or
- when an appointment is late in the day (eg after 4pm) and the distance travelled to attend would preclude a safe journey home after the appointment is over; or
- when the treating doctor or medical professional certifies that an overnight stay is required due to the nature of the treatment or assessment, or that the person's condition would prevent them from travelling back on the same day.
Each case should be considered on its merits.
Mileage, accommodation and meal rates
Comcare specify the rate per kilometre in accordance with sub section 16(6)(c) of the SRCA, payable where a person travels for treatment by means other than ambulance services or public transport. The specified rate is currently 60 cents per kilometre (from 1 July 2008).
When meeting costs reasonably incurred for accommodation and meals, the delegate should apply the current non-SES DVA Travel Allowance rates to the claim. The only exception to this might be where the client requires urgent treatment or is unable to reschedule their appointment and there are extenuating circumstances such as might exist during a major event in a particular location, that limits the availability of accommodation in that location.
Therefore, once the accommodation has been deemed reasonable, the delegate will reimburse the person the amount as dictated by the current DVA Travel Allowance rates (including appropriate accommodation, incidentals and meals, taking into account the times travelled). No meal or incidentals allowance should be paid unless an overnight stay is necessary.
Reimbursement can be made to either:
- the person who made the claim for reimbursement; or
- a third party (eg the transport or accommodation provider); or
- another person who incurred the cost of the journey and/or accommodation.