Individuals not registered for GST must submit all claims for travel support using the expense reimbursement form (see below).
Note that the form has now changed. Please use the new form in all new travel claims (one payee per form, up to two observers). Note also that we no longer issue payments by cheque.
For organisations registered for GST an invoice is required to claim expense reimbursement (see below).
Note that this is to reimburse part or all of the travel expenses incurred whilst travelling to the telescope. As there have been no goods or services received/provided GST is non-applicable (out-of-scope).
We no longer reimburse accommodation costs at the ANU Lodge - rather such costs are paid directly by the AAO to the Lodge for eligible people (subject to approval). Requests must be made at the time of booking using the AAO's Observer Travel Notification Form.
One of the issues that emerged clearly from the recent DEST review of the AAO was the barrier to full exploitation of the AAT that travel and subsistence costs pose for Australian astronomers and students. The AAO has therefore undertaken to support basic travel and accommodation (T&A) costs for Australian observers, starting from semester 06B. This measure brings support for Australian observers into line with support for UK observers, who have their travel expenses paid by PPARC. The following sections outline the proposed level of this support and the proposed procedures for payment.
For each run involving Australian observers (people based at Australian institutions, excluding the AAO), the AAO will normally pay one astronomer and one student (at most) a fixed amount for travel (based on the cheapest mode of transport from their home institution) and SSO Lodge costs (for the length of the run plus one night). This support is intended to cover the bulk of the costs associated with taking up observing time, without imposing an unnecessary administrative burden on either the users or the AAO.
Detailed Rules for T&A
- Eligible observers: For Australian observers (observers based at Australian institutions), T&A will be provided for up to one astronomer and one student per observing run. T&A will not normally be provided for two astronomers at a time, but may be provided in exceptional cases for two students (no astronomer) with explicit prior permission from the Director. At the discretion of the Director, T&A for up to 3 observers may be provided in the special case of Large Observing Programs when no AAO support astronomer is supplied. ["Astronomer" generally means a staff member or postdoc at a recognized astronomical institution with a minimum level of observing experience, who can competently carry out an observing run after an initial night with a support astronomer. "Student" generally means a graduate student or senior undergraduate from a recognized astronomical institution.]
- Observing runs: An observing run is usually a single block of time allocated to a particular program. Where a program is allocated separate, non-contiguous blocks of time, these are considered separate observing runs. Where a single observing run extends for more than one week, it may (for the purposes of T&A support) effectively be treated as N separate runs, where N = 1+int((length of run in nights-1)/7); how these N runs split the observing period is left to the observers.
Travel support: For each observing run (see ), travel support will
be provided for each eligible observer (see ) as a reimbursement of actual travel expenses, for which receipts will
need to be provided, up to the maximum amounts given below. Travel payments are approximately
based on the cheapest mode of transport between the observer's institution
and the AAT: for institutions in NSW and the ACT, travel by
car is assumed; for institutions in VIC, TAS, SA, WA or NT, travel
by plane is assumed. Observers from institutions in QLD can either claim for plane+car travel
or car-only, based on whichever is the most practical method of travel.
Where there are two observers attending a run from
the same institution and car travel is assumed, only one travel payment
will be made. The travel payments for observers from various regions
will be as given in the table below. Payments for travel from
other regions will be established as necessary. Payments will be revised
as appropriate at future times.
Region Mode of travel Payment Sydney Car $200 Canberra Car $240 Brisbane Plane + Car $1100 SE Qld Car $280 Melbourne Plane + Car $1100 Hobart Plane + Car $1400 Adelaide Plane + Car $1100 Perth Plane + Car $1500
- Accommodation support: For each run (or effective run, see ), accommodation support will be provided in the form of payment directly to the ANU by the AAO for SSO Lodge bed & board costs for up to the number of nights equal to the number of nights in the run plus one (to allow observers to arrive by the night before the night their run begins). Payment will only be made up to this maximum for nights actually spent at the Lodge. Any additional charges beyond bed & board for the eligible number of nights must be paid to the Lodge by the Observer.
- Payment process: Observers are responsible for paying all their expenses at the time they are incurred; Expense reimbursement can only be claimed after the run is complete. To claim expense reimbursement, all organisations registered for GST must submit an invoice and all observers not registered for GST must submit a completed Expense Reimbursement Form (available in Word or PDF format). Submissions must be made within 6 months of the completion of their observing run. Claims may be made by observers separately or together, at their discretion (noting rule  regarding car travel for two observers from the same institution).
- Auditing and penalties: In claiming T&A, observers give the AAO the right to audit their claims. Significant irregularities in T&A claims may, at the discretion of the Director, result in ineligibility for future T&A support.