FMPM 742 Authorised Limits - Travel

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This authorised limits provides guidance to travellers and travel approvers, as to the appropriate rates, allowances and maximum limits that apply to ALL official University business travel expenses (here on referred to as University travel).


Best Fare of the Day


1. ‘Reasonable’ and ‘Maximum’ Rates

Travellers should always seek travel arrangements that provide the University with value for money and contain travel expenses within the rates and limits stated below.

1.1 Meals and Incidentals

The following rates should be used as a guide in assessing what constitutes ‘reasonable’ travel expenses for meals and incidentals:






Daily Total

All Travellers






Where the period of University travel does not comprise a full day, the breakdown of reasonable rates for breakfast, lunch and dinner should be applied.

Travellers are entitled to the payment of meal expenses in accordance with the following University travel departure and return times:

  • Breakfast – the traveller departs earlier than 7:30am (0730hrs) or returns later than 7:30am (0730hrs).

  • Lunch – the traveller departs earlier than 1:30pm (1330hrs) or returns later than 1:30pm (1330hrs).

  • Dinner – the traveller departs earlier than 7:00pm (1900hrs) or returns later than 7:00pm (1900hrs).

Meal costs cannot be accumulated. Each amount is separate for each day and for each Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, and an accumulated total cannot be utilised to pay for only one meal for the day or trip.

Further information relating to reasonable rates for meals and incidentals specific to individual travel destinations is available via the Australian Tax Office (ATO) website (refer to reasonable travel and meal allowances for details).

1.2 Accommodation

The following rates should be used as a guide in assessing what constitutes ‘reasonable’ and ‘maximum’ travel expenses for accommodation:


Reasonable Rates

Maximum Limits

All Staff (excl Senior Executive)



Senior Executive (Vice Chancellor and members of the Vice Chancellor’s Advisory Committee)



Where appropriate accommodation within the reasonable rates is not available, the most cost effective accommodation within the maximum limits should be selected.

In certain situations it may be more appropriate and/or cost effective to select a more expensive accommodation option. Consideration should be given to time management, associated costs for ground transportation, and potential networking opportunities when determining the most cost effective option.

For example, staying in the conference location accommodation may be more cost effective than a cheaper accommodation option as it eliminates the cost of taxis between the accommodation and the conference.

With the exception of individual destinations where the reasonable rate published by the ATO is greater than the maximum limit stated above, the actual travel expense for accommodation should not exceed the maximum limits.

Further information relating to reasonable rates for accommodation specific to individual travel destinations is available via the ATO website (refer to reasonable travel and meal allowances for details).

2. Allowances

Allowance rates and limits are set out below:

2.1 Incidental Allowance

An incidental allowance is available, at the discretion of the Head of Organisational Unit, to cover employee incidental expenses while undertaking University travel. Where an electronic travel requisition has been submitted, the incidental allowance is claimed via a cash reimbursement request in the University’s expense Management System (EMS).  Where a manual/paper travel requisition has been submitted, the incidental allowance is claimed via Part 2 of the travel requisition form.  Therefore, employees are not eligible to separately claim any incidental expenses incurred while on University travel by cash reimbursement (petty cash), payment request or on their JCU corporate credit card by a card transaction or cash advance withdrawal.

The following expenses are considered as incidental:

  • newspapers and magazines;

  • morning and afternoon tea expenses;

  • snacks such as cake, coffee, tea, drinks etc.; or

  • personal items necessary for business travel.

An incidental allowance is only available where travel involves at least one night away from home and is payable per night away. Only one incidental allowance can be claimed per night away.

2.2 Camping or Field Allowance

A camping allowance is available where there is a requirement for the traveller to ‘camp out’ overnight and food and beverages are not provided by the University.

A field allowance is available where there is a requirement for the traveller to ‘camp out’ overnight and food and beverages are provided by the University.

Camping Allowance (food not provided by the University)


Field Allowance (food provided by the University)


2.3 Private Motor Vehicle (MV) Allowance

Where the use of a private vehicle for University travel is approved, travellers may be entitled to claim a Private MV Allowance. The Private MV allowance amount is limited to the lesser of the:

  • Best Fare of the Day; or

  • Mileage allowance (Km’s travelled x the relevant ‘Cents per Kilometre’ rate).

Calculation of a kilometre reimbursement entitlement is based on the current Australian Taxation Office cents per kilometre thresholds.  Refer to the Australian Taxation Office website ( for current rates.

Any private MV allowance received by an employee will appear on the traveller’s Payment summary and will be included in the employee’s assessable income.  (Refer to your Tax Agent for further information).

2.4 Living Away from Home Allowance (LAFHA)

The amount that is to be paid as LAFHA depends upon the specific circumstances of each case. A LAFHA will not exceed the sum of ‘reasonable’ compensation for accommodation and increased food costs that the staff member incurs when living away from home.

To calculate the LAFHA, the staff member must total the weekly:

  • increased food costs; and

  • actual ‘reasonable’ accommodation costs.

Information relating to ‘reasonable’ rates for the food component of LAFHA is available via the ATO website (refer to reasonable LAFHA food component for details).

To be exempt from FBT, supporting documentation must show that the amount paid for the food component of LAFHA represents the increased food costs compared to normal expenditure and must include a LAFHA Declaration Form (refer to the Travel Forms on the  FaBS Travel page for details).

The accommodation element of the LAFHA must not exceed actual accommodation costs, and should not exceed the reasonable rates set out in Section 1.2.

Note: The University will not pay any LAFHA amount that is subject to FBT liability.

Related documents, legislation, or JCU Statutes

Directive No.9/11 Domestic Travelling and Relieving Expenses

Financial Accountability Act 2009

Financial and Performance Management Standard 2009

Income Tax Assessment Act 1997

Industrial Relations Act (Qld) 1999

Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986

James Cook University Enterprise Agreement 2010

Payroll Tax Act 1971

Public Sector Ethics Act (Qld) 1994

Public Service Commission - Policies and Procedures

Public Service Regulation 2008

State Procurement Policy (published by the Queensland Government)

Various Tax Rulings, as applicable

Work Health and Safety Act (Qld) 2011

Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 2003

Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Regulation

For enquiries in relation to this FMPM Authorised Limits please contact


Approval Details

Policy Sponsor

Deputy Vice Chancellor, Services and Resources

Approval Authority

Finance Committee

Date for next review


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation date






Policy Sponsor and Approval Authority updated to reflect the approved Policy and Delegations Framework

Quality Standards and Policy Unit