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Tuesday, 14 October 1975
Page: 2096

Mr Donald Cameron (GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND) asked the Minister representing the Minister for Labor and Immigration and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister in Public Service Matters, upon notice:

(   1 ) Is it a fact that many public servants are travelling first class on aeroplanes.

(2)   Is it also a fact that the terms of awards in some cases make it impossible for him to enforce the rule to fly economy class.

(3)   How many public servants can still fly first class if they so choose.

Mr Riordan - The Minister Assisting the Prime Minister in matters relating to the Public Service has provided the following information for answer to the honourable member's question:

(   1 ) The Government's decision that, as a special measure of expenditure restraint, persons travelling at Government expense on internal domestic airlines in future would do so at economy class rates was announced by the Prime Minister on 18 August 1975.

The decision was to take effect from 1 September 1975. The Prime Minister stressed, however, that until the decision was implemented the Government expected all persons covered by the decision to observe its spirit by travelling economy class.

With regard to staff employed under the Public Service Act Departments were notified of the Government 's decision and the Public Service Regulations were amended to delete references to class of travel. For staff not employed under the Public Service Act, the appropriate authority was requested to give similar effect to the Government's decision.

While I am not aware of any particular instances of public servants travelling first class on internal domestic airlines, it is possible that some may have continued to do so up to 3 1 August 1975. From 1 September 1975 1 would expect all Departments and authorities to be applying the Government's decision.

(2)   The Public Service Board has advised Departments that in those instances where staff have an entitlement to a particular class of travel in accordance with a determination of the Public Service Arbitrator, the determination provision should continue to apply, and, that the Board would take up separately the question of seeking amendments to any relevant determinations. The Board has now examined this , matter further and I am advised that there is one determina.lion currently affecting staff employed under the Public Service Act which specifies a class of travel for internal domestic air travel. In other areas of Australian Government employment an entitlement to first class domestic air travel is contained in several awards/determinations of arbitral tribunals. Appropriate amendments to the relevant awards/ determinations will be sought as soon as possible.

(3)   The information sought is not readily available. There are relatively few areas where staff have an entitlement to first class domestic air travel contained in awards/ determinations. Overall, the staff concerned do not undertake extensive domestic air travel. Furthermore in the case of these staff the Government would expect that they observe the spirit of the Government's decision and travel economy class in the interests of reducing expenditure.

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