Travel and Accommodation Support for Australian AAT observers

Important changes on August 1st, 2018

Support for travel and accommodation will no longer be provided to Australian based astronomers. A small amount of funding is available to Australian based students who do their observations from Siding Spring.

Changes to the rates reimbursement from May 1st, 2019

From May 1st, 2019, we will increase the maximum that can be reimbursed by $300.


For each run prior to involving Australian based students (students based at Australian institutions), the AAT will normally pay one student (at most) for travel (based on the cheapest mode of transport from their home institution) and accommodation costs (for the length of the run plus one night).

 Detailed Rules for T&A


  1. Eligible students: For Australian students (students based at Australian institutions), T&A will be provided for up to one student per observing run. At the discretion of the SSO Director, T&A for a larger number of studnets may be provided. ["Student" generally means a graduate student or senior undergraduate from a recognised astronomical institution.]
  2. 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.
  3. Travel support: For each observing run (see [2]), travel support will be provided for each eligible student (see [1]) 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. Students 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 students attending a run from the same institution and car travel is assumed, only one travel payment will be made. The travel payments for students from various regions will be as given in the table below. Payments for travel from other regions will be established as necessary.
    Region Mode of travel Maximum Payment (before May 01 2019)   Maximum Payment (after 01 May 2019)
    Sydney Car $200 $500
    Canberra Car $240 $540
    Brisbane Plane + Car $1100 $1400
    SE Qld (to AAT only) Car $280 $580
    Melbourne Plane + Car $1100 $1400
    Hobart Plane + Car $1400 $1700
    Adelaide Plane + Car $1100 $1400
    Perth Plane + Car $1500 $1800
  4. Accommodation support: For each run (or effective run, see [2]), accommodation support will be provided in the form of payment directly by the AAT to the SSO lodge. Costs will be covered for up to the number of nights equal to the number of nights in the run plus one (to allow students to arrive by the night before the night their run begins). Payment will only be made up to this maximum for nights actually used by the students. Any additional charges beyond the basic accommodation cost for the eligible number of nights must be paid by the student.
  5. Payment process: Students 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 studnets not registered for GST must submit a completed Expense Reimbursement Form. Claims must be made separately (noting rule [3] regarding car travel for two students from the same institution).
  6. Auditing and penalties: In claiming T&A, observers give the AAT the right to audit their claims. Significant irregularities in T&A claims may, at the discretion of the SSO Director, result in ineligibility for future T&A support.

Submitting a claim

Individuals not registered for GST must submit all claims for travel support using the Expense Reimbursement Form.

To claim expense reimbursementall organisations registered for GST must submit an invoice and all observers not registered for GST must submit a completed Expense Reimbursement Form. Submissions must be made on the completion of their observing run.

Note that this is to reimburse part or all of the travel expenses incurred whilst travelling to the telescope. Meal costs are the obligation of the observers. As there have been no goods or services received/provided GST is non-applicable (out-of-scope).

We do not reimburse accommodation costs, rather such costs are paid directly by the AAT to the accommodation provider (subject to approval). Requests must be made at the time of booking using the Visitor Form (Lens account required).

Instructions for filling out the Expense Reimbursement Form

If you wish to seek reimbursement, please fill out the following form

  • Fill in your postal address if you do not have a ANU ID
  • Select "Person of Interest / Visitor / Other" if you do not have a ANU ID
  • If you have an ANU ID, add that to the top right corner of the form.
  • Select charge code Q35400/06
  • Attach all receipts
  • Attach boarding passes if applicable
  • If you have an ANU ID, your bank details will be obtained from HORUS. If you do not have a ANU ID, then fill out the bank details in the spaces provided.
  • Sign the form and send it to Do not send the form to the e-mail address in the top right corner of the form.

Chris Lidman, SSO Director

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