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3.2.6 Travelling to or from duty

Paragraphs 27(e) and 28(1)(f) of the MRCA provides for an injury, disease, or death to be regarded as a service injury, disease, or death if the injury, disease or death resulted from an accident that occurred while the person was travelling, while a member rendering peacetime service but otherwise than in the course of duty, on a journey:

  • to a place for the purpose of performing duty; or
  • away from a place of duty upon having ceased to perform duty.

Whether a particular journey is covered by this provision depends on the purpose of the journey.  It is not sufficient that the person was going to or from a place of duty.  If the accident occurred while travelling to a place of duty, the question is whether or not the person was going there to commence duty or merely going there for some other reason or because that was where he or she was residing.  Likewise, when considering a journey when travelling away from the person's place of duty, it is necessary to determine whether the person left that place upon ceasing duty.

It is also necessary to identify the start and end points of the particular journey.  A journey is not completed until its final destination is reached whether this be a few minutes after commencement or many days such as occurs for example, if a member drives interstate for leave.

Example:In Re Fish and Repatriation Commission (2003) AATA 675, the Tribunal found that Mr Fish had left the base for private business, was returning to his place of residence on base, and that there was a considerable gap in time before he was to commence duties.  It also found he was not travelling with the purpose of performing duty.  They found he was not on service-related business when he incurred his injuries.  Thus his injuries were not defence-caused.