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Policy and guidelines for the allocation and use of vehicles within the state service

Effective July 2009 (amended August 2013)

Download the Policy as a PDF (PDF, 178KB)

1.0 Introduction

1.1 This document has application to all State Service agencies in respect of all government owned and operated vehicles. It sets out Government policy on the allocation and use of government motor vehicles for operational purposes and in relation to vehicles that are provided as part of remuneration arrangements.

1.2 The document provides a framework only and in most agencies it will need to be supplemented by additional guidelines developed to meet agency-specific operational circumstances (see Part 5).

1.3 The fundamental principle is that government vehicles allocated for work related purposes are the same as any other asset used for the effective provision of government goods and services. Their use is therefore subject to normal considerations of efficiency, effectiveness, responsibility and equity and to appropriate standards of probity and accountability.

1.4 The Department of Premier and Cabinet has primary responsibility for administrative policy on the allocation and usage of government motor vehicles. The Department of Treasury and Finance has responsibility for the management of the motor vehicle contract and fleet management arrangements. Specific policy requirements are also contained in a number of other documents such as the Treasurer's Instructions, and the Tasmanian State Service Regulations. A number of other administrative requirements are set out in the Fleet Management Handbook available at www.purchasing.tas.gov.au/contracts - Fleet Management .

2.0 General Policies

2.1 Safety

2.1.1 As a general rule all Tasmanian Government vehicles must conform with at least a four-star Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) safety rating or at least comply with the mandatory safety features listed in Attachment A. It is anticipated that the optional safety features specified in Attachment A will become minimum safety standards by the mandatory dates shown.

2.1.2 Vehicles that do not meet the minimum four-star ANCAP safety rating or the mandatory safety features are not available for allocation to a State service agency unless there is no complying vehicle that can meet a specific operational need of the agency.

2.2 Greenhouse rating

2.2.1 The Australian Greenhouse Office, through its Green Vehicle Guide (www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au), maintains a system of rating cars based on factors such as fuel consumption and the level of CO2 emissions.

2.2.2 All Tasmanian Government passenger vehicles (including those provided as part of remuneration packages) must have a minimum Green Vehicle Guide greenhouse rating of 5.5. Light commercial and 4WD vehicles, required for operational purposes, must have a minimum rating of 3.5.

2.2.3 Further information relating to this policy (and the exemption process) is available on the Contracts website at www.purchasing.tas.gov.au/contracts.

3.0 Operational Vehicles

3.1 Size of Motor Vehicle Fleet

3.1.1 Policy

a Heads of Agency must keep their agency's total requirement for vehicles under regular review to ensure efficient and effective resource use.

b The Government requires agencies to manage the size of their vehicle fleet to achieve all possible efficiencies without compromising the delivery of agency outputs.

3.1.2 Guidelines

a The long term lease of a motor vehicle represents a significant commitment of agency resources. In each case an examination should be undertaken of the options available for meeting operational requirements before authorisation is given for the lease of replacement or additional vehicles. The Fleet Manager can provide further information on vehicle selection and whole of life costs.

b Alternative approaches include more efficient allocation of existing vehicles, the use of the Government'Â’s vehicle hire and drive contract (details available at www.purchasing.tas.gov.au/contracts), and the use of public transport. In a small number of instances the use of an officer's private vehicle with payment of kilometreage allowance may be appropriate; however, this option is not the preferred option because of potential occupational health and safety risks.

3.2 Registration and Other Forms of Identification

3.2.1 Policy

Operational government vehicles will be registered by the Fleet Manager as G-plated other than in cases where the Secretary, Department of Premier and Cabinet has given approval for the allocation of private plates.

3.2.2 Guidelines

G-plated Vehicles

a G-plated vehicles will be registered in the G series and carry distinctive G series number plates and a G sticker on the front windscreen.

b With the exception of the police and emergency services, vehicles carrying additional agency identification should show the Tasmanian Government logo (see www.communications.tas.gov.au for advice on the use of the logo). Each agency has discretion to determine which of its vehicles should carry a logo according to the use for which the vehicle is intended. Logos or stickers should not be applied unless they are easily removable without damage to the vehicle.

Private Plated Vehicles

c Agency operational vehicles will only be private plated when there is a predominant business operational reason for doing so.

d The Government Fleet Manager will not allocate a private plated vehicle for operational purposes without written advice from the Department of Premier and Cabinet of the Secretary's approval.

e Agencies should ensure that the operational need for private plating is kept under regular review and the number of vehicles in this category should be kept to a minimum.

f Vehicles that are private plated for operational reasons will be registered in the normal registration series and generally will carry no external evidence of government ownership.

3.3 Authority to Drive an Operational Vehicle and Standards of Conduct

3.3.1 Policy

Authority

a Operational government vehicles should only be driven by suitably qualified government employees, including fixed term employees.

b Head of Agency approval is required to authorise non-government personnel use of a government vehicle.

c Employees who have a provisional driver's licence may drive government vehicles but must display the 'P' plate when driving.

Standards of Conduct

d Drivers of government vehicles are subject to traffic laws in the same way as any other driver and remain personally liable for any breach of those laws (including parking and speeding offences).

e Agencies must keep adequate records to enable them to identify who was driving any government vehicle at a particular point in time.

3.3.2 Guidelines

a Drivers of government vehicles should be aware that their conduct on the road impacts on community perceptions of the State Service. It is important that the same standard of courtesy and consideration be extended to other road users as would be expected of a Government employee in face to face contact with members of the public.

b Any complaint relating to the manner in which a government vehicle has been driven should be investigated in a manner consistent with the State Service Act's Code of Conduct.

c The Fleet Manager as specified at www.purchasing.tas.gov.au/contracts - Fleet Management cannot avoid assigning responsibility for parking or traffic infringement notices for the reason that the driver cannot be identified.

d Where a traffic offence has occurred and the driver of a Government vehicle cannot be identified, the infringement notice will be deemed to have been incurred by the normal custodian of the vehicle or the employee usually responsible for that vehicle.

e Where a Government employee is convicted of a serious driving offence, the relevant Head of Agency may decide to take disciplinary action against that employee under the State Service Act's Code of Conduct and relevant agency procedures. Further, if the offence causes damages that result in costs to the Government and/or the victim/s, the Head of Agency may decide to recover some or all of those costs from the employee.

f Agencies are encouraged to make available appropriate training to employees who are required to use government vehicles in circumstances that are outside the scope of situations and conditions covered by standard driver training and licensing.

3.4 Private Use of Operational Vehicles

3.4.1 Policy

Private use of G-plated or private plated operational vehicles is not permitted other than in accordance with the guidelines below.

3.4.2 Guidelines

a Motor vehicles, like other forms of government property, should be used only for official purposes. Exceptions may be made for incidental private use that is consistent with the Government's commitment to providing a working environment, which recognises the family responsibilities of its employees. For example, an employee who is starting from home in the morning in a government vehicle may use it to drop their children at school.

b It is also recognised that official travel will often involve employees travelling outside normal working or business hours. In such cases it may be inappropriate to strictly apply the prohibition on private use. For example, a minor detour to make a private purchase before shops close for the night is unlikely to breach the spirit of these guidelines. Agency staff and managers should take a common sense approach to occasional or incidental private use of this type.

c Agencies should ensure that management and approval procedures, which are appropriate to their business needs and to the family responsibilities of staff, are in place.

d Complaints relating to the alleged improper private use of a government vehicle should be investigated in a manner consistent with the State Service Act's Code of Conduct.

3.5 Carriage of Non-State Service Personnel

3.5.1 Policy

a Non-State Service personnel may only be carried in operational government vehicles for business reasons with appropriate agency authorisation.

b Non-State Service personnel may not be carried in government vehicles where no authorised business reason or private use exists other than in cases of emergency.

3.5.2 Guidelines

a Agencies should have guidelines in place covering the authorisation of the carriage of non-State Service personnel in government vehicles for official reasons where this is a likely occurrence. Examples include official volunteers, consultants, representatives of non-government organisations, members of government boards and agency clients in defined circumstances.

b The carriage of non-State Service personnel in an emergency is not prohibited by any authorisation.

3.6 Home Garaging of Operational Vehicles

3.6.1 Policy

a Except as provided below, operational vehicles must be garaged at official premises.

b Regular home garaging of an operational vehicle may be approved in writing by a Head of Agency where:

  • secure garaging facilities are not available on government premises;
  • it is routinely more effective for an employee to start work directly from home; or
  • an employee is on frequent out of hours call out.

c Short term home garaging may also be approved on a case by case basis to allow for an early start or late return for a trip away from the normal place of work, or where an employee is on call for a limited period.

3.6.2 Guidelines

a Heads of Agency must ensure that home garaging is kept to a minimum and, in the absence of operational reasons, it should not be approved if secure garaging facilities are available at the workplace.

b However, home garaging is justified where it is the most effective way to meet the Government's service delivery objectives. In each case the agency should examine any alternatives to home garaging, such as payment of kilometreage allowance for use of a private vehicle. The analysis should include consideration of the FBT implications of home garaging. Agencies should also consider whether it is reasonable for an employee to be required to make a private vehicle available for work purposes taking account of their personal circumstances.

c The principles set out in part 3.4 in relation to the private use of government vehicles also apply to vehicles that are regularly or occasionally home garaged.

d Long term home garaging approvals should be reviewed regularly, particularly in the light of actual experience with call out arrangements.

4.0 Private Plated Vehicles Provided under a Contract of Employment

4.1 Policy

4.1.1 The Government provides private plated vehicles as part of the total remuneration package for Members of Parliament, Heads of Agency, certain statutory office holders, senior executives and some other senior appointees (such as judges, magistrates and senior medical officers).

4.1.2 The range of vehicles from which appointees can choose will be determined by the Government from time to time.

4.1.3 As an alternative, executives may select a passenger commercial vehicle or people mover from the general category for their use, if it has a minimum 5.5 Greenhouse Rating. Any exemption from this policy needs to be approved by the relevant Head of Agency, and can only be given if there is a predominant business operational need for a non-executive vehicle, and the vehicle selected is as close as possible to the minimum Greenhouse Rating of 5.5. In the case of Heads of Agencies requesting a vehicle with a Greenhouse Rating of less than 5.5, the approval of the Secretary, Department of Treasury and Finance must be obtained.

4.1.4 A vehicle provided as a contract entitlement is available for the private use of the officer without restriction, including weekends, public holidays and periods of leave.

4.1.5 However, a significant business use component is recognised in calculating the cost to the officer's remuneration package of providing a vehicle. These vehicles are to be available for official use by the officer in all cases and by other staff as appropriate.

4.1.6 A private plated vehicle provided as part of a remuneration package may be driven by members of the immediate family of the person to whom it is assigned.

4.1.7 A private plated vehicle is not to be taken interstate without appropriate authorisation.

4.2 Guidelines

4.2.1 Private plated vehicles may only be assigned to an individual where there is a contractual obligation to do so. Such obligations may only be created in strict accordance with the Government's pay policy. Further advice on the policy should be sought from the Department of Premier and Cabinet if necessary.

4.2.2 A private plated vehicle provided as part of a remuneration package may be driven by members of the immediate family of the person to whom it is assigned. Unless extenuating circumstances exist or an emergency situation arises, this means the person's spouse and/or children, including those with a provisional licence. Where a person who is not a member of the immediate family is required to use the private plated vehicle, details of that person's name should be kept in the agency log book to ensure that relevant information is available in the event of an insurance claim, speeding ticket or other traffic infringement. Provisional drivers must display the 'P' plate when driving a private plated government vehicle

4.2.3 The relevant Head of Agency must be advised when a private plated vehicle is to be taken interstate, whether the use of the car is for work related or personal use. This is to ensure that the agency is aware that government resources are being used interstate. Heads of Agency are to advise the Secretary, Department of Premier and Cabinet when they are taking their cars interstate.

4.2.4 In considering approval of a request for a private plated vehicle provided as part of a remuneration package with a Greenhouse Rating of less than 5.5, the Secretary, Department of Treasury and Finance will liaise with the Secretary, Department of Premier and Cabinet.

4.2.5 The entitlement of Executives to select certain vehicles and optional extras is defined within the following categories:

  1. Heads of Agency and specified equivalents (Judges, Magistrates, Solicitor-General, Crown Solicitor and the Director of Public Prosecutions or others with the approval of the Secretary, Department of Premier and Cabinet) and Executives paid at the base level of SES 3 or above.
  2. Executives not included in categories A and paid at the base level of SES 1 or above.

4.2.6 The allocation of vehicles to each category is based on the estimated monthly whole-of-life costs (WOL) calculated by the Government's Fleet Manager. The key factors used in this calculation are capital cost, Tascorp interest rate, estimated residual value, service costs, registration, fuel consumption and management fees.

4.2.7 The maximum WOL monthly cost for each category is shown at Attachment B. These bandwidths are subject to review in January and July each year by the Secretary, Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Secretary, Department of Treasury and Finance.

4.2.8 Executives are able to select either a manual or automatic vehicle from the list in their approved category or below.

4.2.9 Not required now.

4.2.10 Executives are able to select a vehicle in any of the categories below their approved level or from the general contract if they prefer. Executives require approval to select a commercial vehicle, people mover or other vehicle from the general category for their use if it does not meet the minimum 5.5 Greenhouse Rating. Where a vehicle is selected that is not on the Executive list, that vehicle's WOL cost must be equal to or less than the upper limit applicable under the Executive range of vehicles. WOL costs can be obtained from the Fleet Manager on request.

4.2.11 Executives may also choose to have the following items included when ordering a vehicle.

  • metallic paint;
  • towpack; 
  • cargo barrier;
  • mobile phone presenter;
  • items of a protective nature such as headlight protectors, cargo liners, mats; and
  • safety options required to meet the internal OHS requirements of the agency

In addition to the above, Executives may also select optional extras for personal preference reasons to a total value of $1,000. Requests for other items will be determined by the Secretary, Department of Premier and Cabinet and must be directed in the first instance to the Fleet manager.

4.2.12 Category A executives can also choose to have leather seats fitted without requiring approval. Category A executives may also choose options to a value greater than $1,000, however these must be approved by the Premier or his delegate.

5.0 Departmental Vehicle Usage Guidelines

5.1 Policy

5.1.1 Where necessary, agencies may develop more detailed vehicle usage guidelines that are tailored to the business needs of their agency.

5.2 Guidelines

5.2.1 Matters that may need to be addressed in agency-level guidelines include:

  • internal car pooling arrangements to maximise the efficient use of vehicles;
  • agency identification on vehicles;
  • record keeping by vehicle users;
  • management and approval of private use of operational vehicles;
  • carriage of non-State Service personnel in vehicles;
  • occupational health and safety issues;
  • use of fuel cards;
  • parking and home garaging; and
  • use of the vehicle hire and drive contract.

6.0 Other relevant Information

6.1 Fleet management

6.1.1 The Fleet Management Handbook provided by the Department of Treasury and Finance outlines the responsibilities of both agencies and drivers in relation to government vehicles.

6.1.2 Areas covered in the Handbook include:

  • arrangements for repairs, maintenance and servicing of vehicles;
  • procedures to be followed in the event of an accident, breakdown or emergency;
  • vehicle selection and replacement including optional equipment, accessories and colour of vehicles;
  • traffic infringements;
  • fuel;
  • payment of invoices; and
  • the responsibilities of the Fleet Manager and Contract Manager.

6.1.3 The Fleet Management Handbook is available in the Contracts website at www.purchasing.tas.gov.au/contracts.

6.2 Vehicle safety

6.2.1 The Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources has developed information in relation to vehicle safety features and safe driving practices. These guidelines are available at www.transport.tas.gov.au/safety.

6.3 Insurance

6.3.1 The Tasmanian Risk Management Fund provides insurance cover for loss or damage to all government vehicles and any associated third party property damage.

6.3.2 More information on coverage and claims processes is available on the Department of Treasury and Finance website at www.treasury.tas.gov.au, under Tasmanian Risk Management Fund.

6.4 Treasurer's Instructions

6.4.1 Treasurer's Instruction 1112 outlines the requirements relating to the purchase and leasing of vehicles under common use contracts managed by Treasury. It also provides details of the exemption process relating to the purchase of vehicles that do not comply with the Government's climate change policy.

6.4.2 The Treasurer's Instructions can be accessed by way of the link on the purchasing website home page at www.purchasing.tas.gov.au.

Attachments