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Part 7: Family assistance for attendance at a Court of Inquiry

8.7.1 Purpose

  1. A Court of Inquiry provides a benefit to members as it determines the facts and circumstances surrounding an incident or situation they may have been involved in.

  2. The purpose of this Part is to provide assistance to a member's family for their attendance at a Court of Inquiry involving an injured or deceased member.

  3. This assistance is provided on the basis that a person does not gain or lose financially when attending a Court of Inquiry.

8.7.2 Definitions used in this Part

In this Part Court of Inquiry has the same meaning as in regulation 3 of the Defence (Inquiry) Regulations 1985.

8.7.3 Persons who this Part applies to

  1. This Part applies to the following people.

    1. The spouse or partner of the member.

    2. A child of the member.

    3. A parent of the member.

    4. A parent of the member's spouse or partner.

    5. A dependant of the member.

      See: Chapter 1 Part 3 Division 2, Dependants and categorisation

  2. The CDF may approve assistance under this Part for people other than those listed subsection 1 having regard to the following.

    1. Any recommendation made by the Director General Defence Community Organisation.

    2. Whether the person has been authorised to appear under regulation 33 or regulation 121 of the Defence (Inquiry) Regulations 1985.

    3. Whether the person's presence is necessary to provide support to a person under paragraph b.

Persons who can make the decision under subsection 8.7.3.2 on behalf of the CDF:
Director National Operations Defence Community Organisation

8.7.4 Persons this Part does not apply to

This Part does not apply to a person who is not covered by either subsection 8.7.3.1 or subsection 8.7.3.2 even if they have an interest in a Court of Inquiry for any period.

8.7.5 Assistance for attendance

  1. A person may be provided with the following assistance under this Part.

    1. Travel.

      See: Section 8.7.6, Assistance with domestic travel

    2. Accomodation.

      See: Section 8.7.7, Assistance with accommodation

    3. Meals.

      See: Section 8.7.8, Assistance with meals

    4. Other expenses.

      See: Section 8.7.9, Assistance with incidental expenses

    5. Dependant or child care.

      See: Section 8.7.10, Assistance with dependant or child care

    6. Additional Support.

      See: Section 8.7.11, Additional support

  2. The provision of assistance under this Part ends on the day after the close of the Court of Inquiry hearings.

    Exception: The CDF may approve assistance for attendance at a briefing before the public release of the report.

Persons who can make the decision under subsection 8.7.5.2, exception, on behalf of the CDF:
Director National Operations Defence Community Organisation

8.7.6 Assistance with domestic travel

  1. This section does not apply to a person who lives within 30 kilometres of the location of the Court of Inquiry.

  2. The CDF may approve payment of vehicle allowance to a person if the CDF considers it reasonable to assist the person to travel to attend the Court of Inquiry on a daily basis.

    See: Chapter 9 Part 6 Division 5 section 9.6.25, Amount of allowance and calculation of distance

  3. A person who gets vehicle allowance under this section is to be reimbursed any parking fees and road tolls incurred for the purpose of attending the Court of Inquiry. The person must provide official receipts.

    Exception: This does not include the cost of any parking or traffic fines.

  4. If the CDF considers it unreasonable for a person to travel to attend the Court of Inquiry on a daily basis, the CDF may approve a return economy class trip within Australia at Commonwealth expense.

    Example: The person lives in Perth and the Court of Inquiry is being held in Sydney.

  5. Approval to travel under subsection 4 may include travel on the day before the Inquiry starts and the day after the Inquiry finishes.

  6. If there is a break of more than five days between sitting days, a person may choose to travel back to their home at Commonwealth expense. A maximum of three return trips at Commonwealth expense may be provided under this subsection in any two month period.

  7. The Director General Defence Community Organisation may approve additional return trips at Commonwealth expense in extenuating circumstances. The Director General Defence Community Organisation must consider the following circumstances.

    1. The number of times the Court sits.

    2. The nature of the evidence being presented.

    3. Family emergency.

  8. A person is to be provided with cab charges at Commonwealth expense for the trip from their home to the airport or station and to their accommodation.

  9. A person who makes their own arrangements for travel cannot apply for reimbursement under this section.

Persons who can make the decisions under subsection 8.7.6.2 and subsection 8.7.6.4 on behalf of the CDF:
Director National Operations Defence Community Organisation

8.7.7 Assistance with accommodation

  1. The CDF may approve accommodation at Commonwealth expense if the CDF considers it unreasonable for a person to travel to attend the Court of Inquiry on a daily basis. The CDF must have regard to advice from the Defence Community Organisation.

  2. If the CDF considers it unreasonable for the person to walk from the accommodation under subsection 1 to attend the Court of Inquiry the person may be provided with assistance.

    Example 1: The person uses a walking stick and the accommodation is a 15 minute walk from the venue of the Court of Inquiry. The person may be provided with a cab charge voucher.

    Example 2: There are a number of people attending the Court of Inquiry staying in accommodation that is a 30 minute walk from the venue of the Court of Inquiry. The Commonwealth may provide a shuttle bus.

  3. A person who makes their own arrangements for accommodation or travel to the Court of Inquiry venue cannot apply for reimbursement under this section.

Persons who can make the decisions under subsection 8.7.7.1 and subsection 8.7.7.2 on behalf of the CDF:
Director National Operations Defence Community Organisation

8.7.8 Assistance with meals

  1. A person who is receiving assistance with accommodation under section 8.7.7 is eligible for payments for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This table sets out their benefits.

    Benefits
    Item If the person is... then they are to be paid... this does not apply if...
    1. under the age of 10 half the rate set out in section 9.5.35 for the rank of colonel or lower a meal is provided by the Commonwealth.
    Example: Lunch is provided at the Court of Inquiry venue. The person is not eligible for a payment for lunch even when they choose not to eat at the venue.
    2. any other person the rate set out in section 9.5.35 for the rank of colonel or lower a meal is provided by the Commonwealth.

    See:
    Section 8.7.7, Assistance with accommodation
    Chapter 9 Part 5 Division 3 section 9.5.35, Travel costs while living out on a journey

  2. If a child under 18 years of age is eligible for meal allowance under this section, the payment will be made to the parent, adult relative or legal guardian they are travelling with. If the child is travelling alone, the meal allowance will be paid to them.

8.7.9 Assistance with incidental expenses

  1. Each family unit of people eligible for accommodation under section 8.7.7 may also be provided with a weekly allowance for incidental expenses. This allowance is to assist in covering incidental expenses such as phone calls and laundry expenses.

  2. For the purposes of this Part, one family unit includes all of the following people.

    1. The spouse or partner and children of the member.

    2. Parents of the member.

    3. A parent of the member's spouse or partner.

  3. The weekly amount for incidentals allowance is payable to a person nominated by the family unit.

    See: Chapter 9 Part 5 Division 3 subsection 9.5.41.2, Travel for more than 21 days

  4. The CDF may approve a higher rate of payment for incidental expenses if it is reasonable, on a case by case basis.

Persons who can make the decision under subsection 8.7.9.4 on behalf of the CDF:
Director National Operations Defence Community Organisation

8.7.10 Assistance with dependant or child care

  1. A person may require assistance with dependant caring responsibilities to enable them to attend a Court of Inquiry.

  2. The CDF may approve payment of reasonable costs for this dependant care.

  3. The types of dependant care available to a person under this Part may include any or all of the following.

    Services
    Item These services may be provided... by...
    1. Travel for extended family to provide support to the member's dependants professional providers organised through the Defence Travel Contract
    2. Dependant care family members or professional providers
    3. Specialist dependant care
    4. Child minding
    5. Respite care
  4. Travel for extended family arranged under item 1 of subsection 3 may be to either of the home location of the member's dependants or to the location of the Court of Inquiry.

  5. If it is not reasonably practicable for the extended family to travel to the home location of the member's dependants or the location of the Court of Inquiry, travel may be provided for the member's dependants to travel to the home location of the extended family.

Persons who can make the decision under subsection 8.7.10.2 on behalf of the CDF:
Director National Operations Defence Community Organisation

8.7.11 Additional support

The Director General Defence Community Organisation will provide people with unclassified, publicly released, daily transcripts from the Court of Inquiry. This benefit may only be provided for the duration of the Court of Inquiry hearings.

Note: Legal representation may be provided in accordance with regulation 33 or regulation 121 of the Defence (Inquiry) Regulations 1985.

8.7.12 Accountability

A person must sign the attendance diary maintained by the Court of Inquiry for each day that they receive benefits under this Part.

Application to Reservists: Yes, in certain circumstances approved by the Tribunal.



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