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Division 8: Compassionate travel

9.3.48 Purpose

This Division provides for the cost of the journey to visit a person with a serious or very serious illness, or who has died.

See: Chapter 5 Part 9 Division 2, Compassionate leave

9.3.49 Overview

  1. Compassionate travel may be made available for the death, serious illness or very serious illness of a person described in section 9.3.52.

  2. Compassionate travel may also be available in other exceptional circumstances.

  3. Compassionate leave may not attract a compassionate travel benefit. Compassionate travel can be taken with other types of leave.

    Examples: Short absence, recreation leave.

    See: Section 9.3.56, Compassionate travel and leave

  4. A spouse or partner may be eligible for compassionate travel in their own right. Special conditions apply.

    See:
    Subsection 9.3.52.2, Who may be visited
    Section 9.3.54, Eligibility of member's spouse or partner – extra conditions

9.3.50 Who this Division does not apply to

This Division does not apply to these members.

  1. A member who has claimed a benefit for a journey under the Australians dangerously ill scheme.

    See:
    Division 9, Australians dangerously ill scheme – within Australia
    Chapter 17 Part 4, Australians dangerously ill scheme – overseas

  2. A member on leave without pay.

  3. A member posted overseas.

    See: Chapter 15 Part 3 Division 6, Travel for compassionate reasons

9.3.51 Definitions

The following table defines terms used in this Division.

Definitions
The term... means...
very seriously ill having an illness or injury so severe that life is imminently endangered.
seriously ill having an illness or injury that could endanger life.

9.3.52 Who may be visited

  1. The CDF may grant a member compassionate travel to visit a person described in the following table, even if they do not normally live with the member

    Who may be visited
    Item The member may have compassionate travel to visit a person who is any of the following... if...
    1.
    1. The member's spouse or partner
    2. The member's child
    that person is seriously ill.
    2.
    1. The member's brother or sister
    2. The member's parent or guardian
    3. A dependant of the member recognised under section 1.3.83 or 1.3.85
    both the following conditions are met.
    1. That person is seriously ill.
    2. The member has to be there because no-one else in the family is available and able to help.
    3.
    1. The member's spouse or partner
    2. The member's child
    3. The member's brother or sister
    4. The member's parent or guardian
    5. A dependant of the member recognised under section 1.3.83 or 1.3.85
    either of the following conditions is met.
    1. That person is very seriously ill.
    2. That person has recently died.

    See: Chapter 1 Part 3 Division 2
    Section 1.3.83, Dependants
    Section 1.3.85, Dependants recognised by CDF

  2. The CDF may grant a member's spouse or partner compassionate travel to visit a person described in the following table.

    Related Information: Section 9.3.54, Eligibility of member's spouse or partner – extra conditions

    Who may be visited
    Item The member's spouse or partner may have compassionate travel to visit a person who is any of the following... if...
    1.
    1. The member
    2. The member's child
    3. The child of the member's spouse
    4. The child of the member's partner
    that person is seriously ill.
    2.
    1. The parent or guardian of the member's spouse or partner
    2. The brother or sister of the member's spouse or partner
    3. A dependant of the member's spouse or partner
    both the following conditions are met.
    1. That person is seriously ill.
    2. The spouse has to be there because no-one else in the family is available and able to help.
    3.
    1. The member
    2. The child of the member's spouse or partner
    3. The parent or guardian of the member's spouse or partner
    4. The brother or sister of the member's spouse or partner
    5. A dependant of the member's spouse or partner
    that person is very seriously ill.
    4.
    1. The member
    2. The child of the member's spouse or partner
    3. The parent or guardian of the member's spouse or partner
    4. A dependant of the member's spouse or partner
    that person has recently died.

    See: Chapter 1 Part 3 Division 2 section 1.3.85, Dependants regognised by CDF

  3. If the member and their spouse or partner both qualify for travel for the same event, both may be granted travel.

    Example: A member's child is very seriously ill in another location. Both the member and the spouse or partner may be granted travel to be with the child, as they both qualify.

  4. There is no travel benefit if the person applying to travel is already at the location of the person to be visited.

    Non-example: Compassionate travel to visit a very seriously ill person.
    This is an example of when it might not be appropriate to grant compassionate travel under subsections 1 and 2.
    A member is on posting in Sydney. They travel to Perth on Defence business. While in Perth, their parent (who lives in Perth) suddenly becomes very seriously ill. The member asks for compassionate travel for their spouse or partner and child to travel from Sydney. However, the spouse or partner has no benefit for their parent-in-law. Also, because the member is already at the compassionate destination at Commonwealth expense, the member has no compassionate travel benefit to transfer to the child.

Persons who can make the decisions under subsection 9.3.52.1 and subsection 9.3.52.2 on behalf of the CDF:
The member's supervisor not below WO2(E)/ APS 4, in the member's direct chain of command or supervision.
Second and later grants in a calendar year must be referred to the Commanding Officer, independent sub-unit commander or supervisor not below MAJ(E)/APS 6 of the member, in the member's direct chain of command or supervision.

9.3.53 Exceptional reasons

The CDF may grant travel for the member or spouse or partner if he is satisfied that other exceptional reasons make their presence essential.

Examples:

  1. Owing to a financial setback, a bank is threatening to repossess the member's home.
  2. The family home has been destroyed in bushfire or cyclone. The family is safe but homeless.
  3. The member's child is a tertiary student suffering mental illness. The member's presence is required to receive advice from counsellors on how the child should be managed.
  4. The boarding arrangements for a school-age child break down and new arrangements need to be made immediately. Either parent, but not both, could be provided compassionate travel (and leave for the member).
  5. The member's spouse or partner or child has been subjected to an episode of domestic violence, including significant injury, by another family member.

Non-examples:

  1. The member is on deployment. Their unoccupied flat is burgled and vandalised. The flat is safe and has been secured by the landlord. There are no compassionate circumstances.
  2. The member is a sole parent and has to go into hospital. There is no travel benefit available to transfer to another parent to provide childcare, because the member is already at the compassionate location. Childcare is not a compassionate circumstance.
  3. Both parents are members away on duty, and wish to transport the children to and from the grandparents' home (or bring the grandparents to the member's home). There are no compassionate circumstances.

Persons who can make the decision under section 9.3.53 on behalf of the CDF:
The Commanding Officer, independent sub-unit commander or supervisor not below MAJ(E)/APS 6 of the member, in the member's direct chain of command or supervision.

9.3.54 Eligibility of member's spouse or partner – extra conditions

These additional conditions apply to compassionate travel for a spouse or partner.

  1. The cost of their travel is limited if they are temporarily absent from their normal place of residence. It must be no more than the cost of return travel from their normal place of residence to the compassionate destination.

  2. The CDF must grant the approved travel as if a member was to travel in the same circumstances.

Persons who can make the decision under paragraph 9.3.54.b on behalf of the CDF:
The member's supervisor not below WO2(E)/ APS 4, in the member's direct chain of command or supervision.
Second and later grants in a calendar year must be referred to the Commanding Officer, independent sub-unit commander or supervisor not below MAJ(E)/APS 6 of the member, in the member's direct chain of command or supervision.

9.3.55 Travel overseas

  1. A member or their spouse or partner may apply for assistance with compassionate travel to an overseas location.

  2. The CDF may approve return travel at Commonwealth expense to and from the nearest appropriate international terminal in Australia.

  3. The Commonwealth does not provide assistance with the cost of the overseas portion of the trip.

Persons who can make the decision under subsection 9.3.55.2 on behalf of the CDF:
The member's supervisor not below WO2(E)/ APS 4, in the member's direct chain of command or supervision.
Second and later grants in a calendar year must be referred to the Commanding Officer, independent sub-unit commander or supervisor not below MAJ(E)/APS 6 of the member, in the member's direct chain of command or supervision.

9.3.56 Compassionate travel and leave

  1. Compassionate travel may be approved for absence or leave other than compassionate leave.

    Example: The member's parents' home has been destroyed in a bushfire. The parents are safe but homeless. The member is granted recreation leave, and compassionate travel to visit their parents.

  2. A member may be granted compassionate leave without being eligible for compassionate travel for it. In this case, they may be granted the use of an existing travel benefit (if they have one) towards the cost of travel to the compassionate leave destination.

    Examples: Recreation leave travel, remote location leave travel.

  3. A member is eligible for compassionate travel each time compassionate leave is granted if they meet all these conditions.

    1. The member is in their first year of service.

    2. The member was under 17 years old at the start of training.

    3. The member needs to travel to visit a person in respect of whom leave has been granted under section 9.3.52.

9.3.57 Means of travel

  1. A member, spouse or partner and any dependants are eligible to use these means of transport for compassionate travel.

    1. For the forward journey – the fastest available public transport.

    2. For the return journey – the most economical means of transport.

  2. The CDF may authorise the member to use their own means of transport if that is more suitable than the means of transport in subsection 1. The CDF must consider all these criteria.

    1. The member's ability to travel safely.

    2. The time involved.

    3. The urgency of the situation.

  3. The member cannot be granted additional travelling leave under section 5.9.18 if they choose to travel by private vehicle.

    See: Chapter 5 Part 9 Division 6 section 5.9.18, Benefit

Persons who can make the decision under subsection 9.3.57.2 on behalf of the CDF:
The member's supervisor not below WO2(E)/APS 4, in the member's direct chain of command or supervision.

9.3.58 Reimbursement of member's costs

A member may be reimbursed their costs of using private transport for compassionate travel. They will be reimbursed whichever is the lesser of these two amounts.

  1. The cost of the most economical means of travel for the journey.

  2. Vehicle allowance for the journey.

9.3.59 Transfer of benefit

  1. A member may transfer a benefit for compassionate travel to their spouse or partner if Service reasons prevent the member from travelling.

    Note: A member cannot transfer their benefit unless the CDF has approved one for them to transfer.

  2. Service reasons may prevent a member from being present when their spouse or partner is seriously ill, very seriously ill or otherwise needs support. The CDF may transfer the member's compassionate travel benefits to another family member. The CDF must consider both these factors.

    1. The needs of the member's spouse or partner.

    2. The ability of the other person to provide care and support.

Persons who can make the decision under subsection 9.3.59.2 on behalf of the CDF:
Commanding Officer, independent sub-unit commander or supervisor not below MAJ(E)/APS 6 of the member in the member's direct chain of command or supervision.

9.3.60 Children accompanying the member or spouse

The CDF may approve travel at Commonwealth expense for a member's children. Approval may only be given if the CDF is satisfied that both these conditions are met.

  1. The child cannot be cared for and supervised while their parent or parents are away.

  2. The child will travel with the member, or with the member's spouse or partner.

Persons who can make the decision under section 9.3.60 on behalf of the CDF:
Commanding Officer, independent sub-unit commander or supervisor not below MAJ(E)/APS 6 of the member in the member's direct chain of command or supervision.

9.3.61 Other travel costs

A member granted compassionate travel is not eligible for travel costs beyond those provided for under this Division.

Example: A member who works at Townsville is granted compassionate travel to visit their mother in Sydney. The member has no eligibility for travelling allowance, use of the Defence Travel Card, or to be given accommodation while they are away.

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



Forms

Copies of forms are available on the webforms system or through the Defence Service Centre.

  • AE505, Travel Request Form

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Further info

Contact

Intergrated Travel Solutions

1800 333 362

Travel.ITS@defence.gov.au

Defence Family Helpline

1800 624 608

Defence Service Centre

1800 DEFENCE (1800 333 362)

YourCustomer.Service@defence.gov.au