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Division 3: Overseas reunion travel

15.3.10 Purpose

  1. The purpose of this Division is to reimburse members for the costs associated with reunion travel, for the member and their dependants.

  2. Reunion travel helps reunite the member with their dependants who do not live with them overseas. It recognises the need to maintain family bonds, and adds to the personal wellbeing of the member and their dependants.

15.3.11 Member this Division applies to

This Division applies to members who have dependants living away from the overseas posting location.

15.3.11A Member to give notice of reunion travel

A member must give the Overseas Administration Team and Travel Services as much time possible when requesting reunion travel. This is to allow adequate time to make the travel bookings and to obtain the best fare possible.

15.3.12 Number of reunion visits to overseas posting location

  1. The CDF may authorise up to four reunion visits a year by a dependant who does not live at the member's posting location.

  2. The CDF must consider all these criteria.

    1. The relationship of the dependant to the member or the member's spouse or partner.

    2. The age and welfare of the dependant.

    3. The cost and duration of travel to the member's posting location.

    4. Any other opportunities that the member or the spouse or partner may have to reunite with the dependant.

    5. Any other factor relevant to the reunion visit.

    Example 1: A member has a dependant who is under 18 years old, is attending primary or secondary education full-time with education assistance in Australia, and has all people with parental responsibility at the posting location. The member may be granted more than one reunion visit a year, to allow the child to spend school holidays with their parents.

    If a child attends a school with a four-term school year, a fourth reunion visit may be granted.

    Example 2: A member might have only one benefit a year for a dependant when there is no reason for additional reunion visits. This might occur with adult dependants who have completed their education, or when a parent remains in Australia and is available to provide emotional support, guidance and counselling.

Persons who can make the decision under subsection 15.3.12.1 on behalf of the Secretary/CDF:
A person working in the Pay and Administration Centre – Victoria who is authorised to manage Defence pay and administration at overseas posts and is not below WO2(E)/APS 5.

15.3.13 Time periods for reunions

Reunion visits are not normally authorised within three months of the start or end of a posting.

Exception: The CDF may approve a reunion visit during these times. The CDF must consider all these criteria.

  1. If other relatives in Australia can provide short-term housing for the dependant.

  2. If care can be arranged for the dependant.

  3. Any other factor relevant to the dependant's welfare.

Persons who can make the decision under section 15.3.13, exception, on behalf of the Secretary/CDF:
A person working in the Pay and Administration Centre – Victoria who is authorised to manage Defence pay and administration at overseas posts and is not below WO2(E)/APS 5.

15.3.14 Amount of reimbursements

  1. There is a maximum amount for reunion visit reimbursements. It is the lowest of these amounts.

    1. The cost incurred by the member for the return travel by a dependant.

      Exception: This cost excludes any cost that the member is responsible to pay for an adult escort that a carrier requires for the member's child.

    2. The allowable travel cost for the travel.

    3. The allowable travel cost for return travel from where the dependant normally lives to the posting location and return.

  2. A member may be away from their posting location for a short time. When this happens, the dependant is authorised to visit the member at the other location. The amount for paragraph 1.c is the return travel cost to the posting location.

    Exception: If the travel is to a designated leave centre and the cost is greater than to the posting location, the amount for paragraph 1.c is the return travel cost to the leave centre.

  3. The member must pay any extra costs, when the value of a ticket is greater than the allowable travel cost.

  4. The CDF may authorise the member to be provided with a ticket for transport, instead of reimbursement.

Persons who can make the decision under subsection 15.3.14.4 on behalf of the Secretary/CDF:
A person working in the Pay and Administration Centre – Victoria who is authorised to manage Defence pay and administration at overseas posts and is not below WO2(E)/APS 5.

15.3.15 Cost of escort for child - USA or Canada

  1. This section applies to a member posted to the USA or Canada whose child is unable to travel without an adult on some legs of the journey on a reunion visit. This may occur when airlines are unable to ensure a child's safe transfer between flights. The member may be eligible for assistance with the cost of travel for an adult to escort the child on these legs.

  2. A member may be eligible for benefits under subsection 3, if all the following apply.

    1. The member is on a long-term posting in the USA or Canada.

    2. The member has been authorised a reunion visit for a dependant child under 15 years old.

    3. Carriers will not ensure the child's safe transfer between the international flight to or from Australia and one of the following unavoidable flights.

      1. A domestic flight within the USA or Canada.

      2. An international flight between the USA and Canada.

    4. The child is not already being accompanied by an adult.

  3. The member is eligible for allowable travel costs for the journeys set out in the following table.

  4. Eligible journeys
    Item When the child... the member is eligible for the escort to travel...
    1. travels to the member's posting location both of the following journeys.
    1. From the posting location to meet the child at the international airport where the child can no longer travel unaccompanied.
    2. From the international airport to escort the child back to the posting location.
    2. returns home both of the following journeys.
    1. From the posting location to escort the child to the international airport from which the child will travel home.
    2. Note: The purpose is for the escort to make sure the child boards safely on the flight back home.
    3. From the international airport back to the posting location.

    Example: A member's 12 year old dependant is approved a reunion visit to Seattle. The child is booked on an international flight from Sydney to Los Angeles and a domestic flight from Los Angeles to Seattle.

    The child cannot transfer safely between the two flights because the international (United) and domestic (Skywest) airlines do not provide an unaccompanied minor service for transfers between different airlines.

    The member's adult child lives at the posting location and escorts the child from Los Angeles to Seattle. The member is eligible for allowable travel costs for their adult child to travel return between Seattle and Los Angeles. They are also eligible for the escort to make the same journey when the child returns home.

  5. The escort must be a person over 18 years old and one of the following.

    1. The member.

    2. Family of the member.

    3. An adult at the posting location chosen by the member.

  6. The escort may accompany more than one dependant at a time.

  7. Accommodation, meals and incidentals costs will not be paid under this section.

15.3.15A Costs for escort for child - Marshall Islands

  1. This section applies to a member posted to Marshall Islands whose child is unable to travel without an adult on some legs of the journey on a reunion visit. This is because there are no direct flights from Australia and an overnight stopover is unavoidable. The child cannot stay in accommodation without an adult carer. The member may be eligible for assistance for an adult to accompany the child on the necessary legs of the journey.

  2. A member may be eligible for benefits under subsection 3, if all the following apply.

    1. The member is on a long-term posting to the Marshall Islands.

    2. The member has been authorised a reunion visit for a dependant under 18 years old.

    3. A stopover for one or more nights is unavoidable.

    4. The child is not already being accompanied by an adult.

  3. The member is eligible for the following travel costs.
    1. Allowable travel costs for the journeys set out in the following table.
      Travel journeys for escort
      Item When the child... the member is eligible for the escort to travel...
      1 travels to the member's posting location both of the following journeys.
      1. From the posting location to meet the child at the international airport where the child can no longer travel unaccompanied.
      2. From the international airport to escort the child back to the posting location.
      2 returns home both of the following journeys.
      1. From the posting location to escort the child to the international airport from which the child will travel home.
        Note:The escort makes sure the child boards safely on the flight back home.
      2. From the international airport back to the posting location.
    2. The reasonable cost of accommodation for the required length of stay.
      Example: A member's 17 year old dependant is approved a reunion visit to Marshall Islands. Flights to Marshall Islands are only available from Hawaii and only depart three times a week. This means an overnight stay in Hawaii is unavoidable. USA law does not permit a child under 18 to stay in accommodation without an adult.
      The member is eligible for allowable travel costs to travel return from Marshall Islands to Hawaii. The member is also eligible for reasonable accommodation costs in Hawaii.
      Note: The availability of flights may mean the member may have to arrive in Hawaii before the child. The member is eligible for accommodation costs for those nights as well as the nights the escort is required to stay with the child.
  4. The escort must be a person over 18 years old and one of the following.

    1. The member.
    2. Family of the member.
    3. An adult at the posting location chosen by the member.
    4. The escort may accompany more than one dependant at a time.
  5. The escort may accompany more than one dependant at a time.

  6. Meals and incidentals costs will not be paid under this section.

15.3.15B Costs for escort for child - Cherbourg

  1. This section applies to a member who meets both of the following conditions

    1. The member receives education assistance – Cherbourg.

    2. See: Part 6 Division 4 section 15.6.22A, Education assistance – Cherbourg

    3. The member has an authorised reunion visit for a child boarding at St John's College, Southsea, England at Commonwealth expense.

    4. See: Section 15.3.12, Number of reunion visits to overseas posting location

  2. A member may be eligible for travel costs for an escort to accompany the child if all the following apply.

    1. The child is unable to travel without an accompanying adult due to age restrictions imposed by the carrier.

    2. The child is not already being accompanied by an adult.

  3. A member is not eligible to receive a benefit under subsection 2 if another member has received the benefit and all the following circumstances apply.

    1. Both members have a child boarding at St John's College, Southsea, England.

    2. Either of the following applies.

      1. Both members have nominated the same person to escort their children.

      2. The member has nominated the other member to be the escort for their child.

    3. The escort accompanies both children on the same trip.

    See: Accommodation, meals and incidental costs will not be paid under this section.

    Example: Member A has a child boarding at St John's College. Member B also has a child boarding at St John's College. Both member A and member B have nominated Jill as an escort to accompany their children from St John's College to the posting location overseas. Jill is to accompany both children at the same time. Member A has claimed the travel costs for Jill to accompany their child. Member B is not able to claim the travel costs.

  4. The escort must be a person over 18 years old and one of the following.

    1. The member.

    2. Another person at the posting location nominated by the member.

    3. Note: Members should check French and English Immigration authorities for any administrative requirements.

  5. The travel costs include the cost of the following journeys.

  6. Travel costs
    Item If the child... the travel costs for the escort include...
    1. travels to the member's posting location both the following journeys.
    1. From the location from which the escort departs France to the location in which the escort arrives in England.
    2. From the location where the escort departs England to the location in which the escort arrives in France.
    2. travels from the member's posting location both the following journeys.
    1. From the location from which the escort departs France to the location in which the escort arrives in England.
    2. From the location where the escort departs England to the location in which the escort arrives in France.
  7. Travel between France and England and the return journey must be by ferry.

  8. Exception: Travel by ferry is unavailable. Travel between France and England or return journey must be by the most economical means.

    Note: Accommodation, meals and incidental costs will not be paid under this section.

15.3.16 Member or spouse or partner visits dependant ('reverse overseas reunion')

  1. This section applies to a member for whom the CDF has approved a reunion visit by a dependant under section 15.3.12.

  2. Exception: A member receiving education assistance – Cherbourg in respect of that child.

    See: Part 6 Division 4 section 15.6.22A, Education assistance – Cherbourg

    Example: A member is posted to Cherbourg, France and has two children who are dependants. One child has remained in Australia and attends school. The other child accompanied the member to Cherbourg, but attends boarding school at St John's College, England. The member may be eligible for a reverse overseas reunion to visit the child in Australia, but will not be eligible for reverse overseas reunion to visit the child in England.

  3. The member may apply in writing to the Overseas Administration Team to be reimbursed for travel by the member or spouse to visit their dependant, instead of taking the benefit to a reunion visit under section 15.3.12.

    Note: This visit to the dependant is sometimes called 'reverse reunion' travel.

  4. Each time that the member is reimbursed under this section, the total number of reunion visits that the member may be reimbursed for under section 15.3.12 is reduced by one for each dependant who is visited at the reverse reunion location.

    Example: A member or spouse or partner travels on a reverse overseas reunion visit to Sydney and reunites with their two children. This reduces the family's reunion benefit by one visit for each child.

  5. The maximum amount that a member can be reimbursed for a reverse reunion visit under this section is the allowable travel cost for the member or spouse or partner, travelling by the most direct route from the member's posting location to where the dependant normally lives and return.

    Example: The member or spouse or partner travels from Los Angeles to Sydney for a reverse overseas reunion visit to two children. The allowable travel cost for the return trip by that person would have been AUD 3,600. This amount is the cost limit repayable for the reverse reunion travel. If the person gets a special deal AUD 2,000 ticket, then they only get reimbursed the cost of that ticket.

15.3.17 Reverse dependant overseas reunion travel to a non-dependant

  1. Travel may be approved for a dependant, living at the posting location with the member, to reunite with other people. The other people do not have to be dependants of the member. Approval may only be given if the CDF is satisfied the dependant should be reunited with the other people at Commonwealth expense.

  2. The CDF must consider all these criteria.

    1. The relationship of the people.

    2. The degree to which the relationship has been maintained before and during the member's long-term posting.

    3. The extent of financial or other dependency of the people.

    4. The circumstances relating to the dependant's removal to the posting location

    5. Any other opportunities that the people may have to be reunited.

    6. The age and welfare of the people.

    7. The circumstances relating to the travel.

    8. The cost, timing and duration of the travel.

    9. Any other factor relevant to reimbursement for the travel by the dependant.

  3. The allowable travel cost is worked out as if the travel was for a normal reunion visit. The visit is treated as being from the member's posting location, to the location where the member lived before the long-term posting.

Persons who can make the decision under subsection 15.3.17.1 on behalf of the Secretary/CDF:
A person working in the Pay and Administration Centre – Victoria who is authorised to manage Defence pay and administration at overseas posts and is not below WO2(E)/APS 5.

Application to Reservists: Yes, on continuous full-time service.




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