education.vic.gov.au

7. Travel preparation

7.1 Pre‑travel arrangements

If schools elect to use the TMSC, it will advise of any immediate travel‑related risks via its booking website and consultants.

7.2 Health and infirmity

It is recommended that travellers consult with their GP before travelling overseas. Travellers receiving treatment for a medical condition should also seek medical advice before travel. Failing to comply with medical advice may impact coverage through the VMIA business travel policyExternal Link .

Travellers are entitled to reimbursement for the cost of GP treatments required for government travel, subject to approval by their travel approver.

While travelling, travellers must take any precautions necessary to maintain good health and avoid situations that might adversely affect their health. In a medical emergency, travellers must seek appropriate care and contact the travel insurance emergency helpline.

7.2.1 Vaccinations

Before travelling overseas, travellers are obliged to seek advice on any vaccinations required. Travellers are entitled reimbursement for the cost of any vaccination required for government travel.

7.3 Risk management

Official travel can have serious risk implications for DET in travellers safety and security, reputation, data security, legal, financial and productivity. Before undertaking government travel, travellers must research their travel destination and be aware of any safety and security risks that may affect their trip.

Travellers must adhere to the DET Emergency Management FrameworkExternal Link (staff login required) when facing crisis situations and should familiarise themselves with these guidelines prior to travel.

7.3.1 COVID-19 considerations for travel

Prior to approving travel, financial delegates and travel approvers must consider and address:

  • whether the travel derives benefits not achieved via web, video or phone conferences
  • the destination and risks associated with COVID-19 transmission or quarantine obligations
  • what contingency plans are required, for example in the case of the travelling employee becoming ill or unable to return home as planned.

Financial delegates and travel approvers must consider the traveller’s health, safety and wellbeing before approving travel requests. Other factors to consider include:

  • the employee’s preference to undertake travel. If the employee prefers not to travel, this preference should be reasonably considered and balanced with DET’s reasonable operational requirements
  • the destination, including any Australian Government travel advice for overseas destinations
  • any restrictions at the destination or when re-entering Victoria from interstate or overseas
  • the risks associated with quarantine obligations in the destination (which may change at short notice)
  • other DET guidance relating to the management of the risks of COVID-19 including any applicable guidance in the School Operations Guide and/or DET’s COVIDSafe Plan and the Excursions policy, which may be more restrictive than this policy from time to time.
Contingency planning

Schools must follow the latest guidance provided in the School Operations Guide and develop a contingency plan depending on the level of risk of the destination. Aspects to consider include:

  • arrangements if travel restrictions change at short notice or if an employee contracts COVID-19 while engaging in work-related travel
  • financial delegates/travel approvers and the traveller should consider any security risks, access to health services, costs associated with an extended stay and any impact on personal circumstances should the itinerary not go to plan
  • insurance coverage and restrictions.

7.3.2 Inter-state travel

COVIDSafe Settings policy update

As at 18 May 2022, interstate work-related travel is permitted under current COVIDSafe Settings in line with public health recommendations.

Additionally, travellers should be aware of any national public security threats, severe weather warnings, planned public demonstrations, areas of potential crime hotspots and other circumstances that might affect their trip, and be prepared to change their travel plans accordingly.

7.3.3 International travel

COVIDSafe settings policy update

As at 18 May 2022, international work-related travel is permitted under current COVIDSafe Settings in line with public health recommendations.

The health and safety of staff travelling on government business is paramount.

In addition to the guidelines that apply to inter-state travel, when travelling overseas, travellers have an obligation to seek advice in relation to any risks that might arise at the destination.

Threats to personal security, including violent and petty crime, are common in many countries. Prior to departure, DFAT country-specific travel advice should be consulted.

Things to look for include:

  • safety and security
  • local laws
  • entry and exit requirements
  • health issues
  • where to get help.

Staff are advised to read and register with Smart Traveller on the DFAT websiteExternal Link .

7.3.4 Approval for travel to countries/areas at risk

Travel to countries and areas identified as ‘Do not travel’ or ‘Reconsider your need to travel’ locations by DFAT must only be approved after careful consideration of the risks involved. Travel approvers must consider whether:

  • the same result can be achieved through a tele- or video-conference
  • the benefits stemming from the trip outweigh the risks, and
  • the travel warnings issued by DFAT apply to the specific locations included in the travel itinerary.

Travel warnings issued by DFAT apply to the specific locations included in the travel itinerary. Refer to the most updated DFAT list of travel advice by countryExternal Link .

7.3.5 Data protection

When travelling on government business, travellers must meet the requirements of the Victorian Government’s information security policies and standardsExternal Link .

7.3.6 Contact card

If schools elect to use the TMSC, its contact card (including after-hours service details) and travel insurance emergency number must always be on-hand. A copy can be downloaded from the VGPB websiteExternal Link .

7.4 Duty of care

7.4.1 Government obligations

The government has a duty of care under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic)External Link to travellers undertaking travel on official business.

7.4.2 Travellers obligation

Travellers have a duty of care for their own personal safety when undertaking travel.

Travellers must ensure that advice has been sought with regards to any factors that might affect their security whilst travelling. Travellers are also strongly encouraged to avoid areas where crime and civil unrest might occur.

Travel advisories are available at DFAT’s Smart TravellerExternal Link .

7.4.3 Orphanage tourism/volunteerism

Travellers have a duty of care when visiting or volunteering in orphanages in foreign countries to ensure the potential for these visits does not contribute to children being taken advantage of in those countries. Travel advisories are available at DFAT’s Smart VolunteeringExternal Link .

7.5 Insurance

DET is covered by the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority (VMIA) business travel policyExternal Link .

School-based travellers must check the applicability of the VMIA insurance policy, as well as policy expiry date and scope, with their travel registrar and/or insurance officer.

Travel is reported to the VMIA using data provided in travel requests.

7.5.1 Enquiries

Questions on the policy may be addressed to the DET travel insurance contact. Current details may obtained through the DET Tax Compliance Unit.

VMIA’s 24/7 emergency hotline is 61 2 9978 6666 (connects to AHI Assist, as per the business travel policyExternal Link ). The VMIA insurance policy number to quote when calling this number is 19096.

VMIA travel insurance claims can be lodged onlineExternal Link or by emailing contact@vmia.vic.gov.au

7.6 WorkCover

Workers’ compensation provisions are covered under DET’s workers’ compensation insurance policy. Official travel must be endorsed and/or authorised according to this travel policy for it to be covered under the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (WIRCA) 2013 (Vic)External Link .

Note: Each case will be determined on its own merits pursuant to the WIRCA 2013 and there are exclusionary provisions under the Act for certain travel types (for example, to and from work).

7.7 Visas

Visa charges and application fees for entry to countries on official business are reimbursable. Travellers and travel bookers must confirm if visas are required for International travel, and arrange visas well in advance.

7.8 Passport validity

Many countries require visitors to have at least a 6-month validity on their passports. Before travelling, travellers should contact the embassy, high commission or consular representative of all the countries they will be travelling to identify each country’s passport validity requirements.

It is safest to renew passports prior to travelling. Passport issuance and replacement fees must be paid by the travellers, unless the travel approver has approved these costs in advance.

7.9 Travel to the United States

Travellers travelling to the United States on official business must apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA)External Link approval immediately after completing their travel bookings and (where possible) well ahead of the departure date. The authorisation form is available onlineExternal Link .

Chapter 7 of the Travel Rules of Use – school-based staff outlining travel preparation requirements and considerations including health and safety obligations, insurance, WorkCover, visas and more

Reviewed 03 June 2022

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