The ABCC, Australia’s building industry watchdog, has again secured significant penalties against the CFMMEU and its most senior Queensland official for contravening right of entry provisions on a Queensland project dating back to 2020.
The Federal Circuit and Family Court have penalised the CFMMEU and two officials $138,528 for two contraventions of the Fair Work Act 2009 at the Queensland Performing Arts Complex (QPAC) construction site in South Brisbane in November 2020.
The officials were organiser Andrew Blakely and current CFMMEU State Secretary Michael Ravbar.
In evidence presented to the court, both officials admitted to acting in an improper manner.
Their conduct included:
Entering the site without providing the mandatory 24 hours’ prior notice and ignoring requests from the principal contractor’s site representatives;
Failing to comply with site safety obligations, including not reporting to the site office;
Despite being asked to leave, the officials remained on-site and conducted an unauthorised meeting with workers.
In his determination, Judge Gregory Egan was particularly critical of the role played by Mr Ravbar on-site, noting,
“Insofar as Ravbar was concerned, it is of significance that he was, at the time of the contravening conduct, the National Vice-President of the CFMMEU National Executive Committee and Secretary of the CFMMEU Construction and General Division – Queensland and Northern Territory Divisional Branch. He was well aware of the need for compliance by him with provisions of the FWA, but he chose to pointlessly flout his obligation to do so”.
With regard to the union, Judge Egan noted, “The CFMMEU’s appalling and disgraceful record of established contraventions continues, unabashed and unabated. There can be no doubt that the CFMMEU is a rogue union untroubled by its ongoing bad behaviour. It seems that it prides itself on its recidivism.
Judge Egan imposed penalties of $10,656 on Mr Ravbar, $7,992 on Mr Blakeley, and $119,880 on the union.
Mr Ravbar does not hold a right of entry permit after abandoning his application before the Fair Work Commission to renew his permit in September 2021.
For questions about unions, right of entry, or other employment questions, please contact Dean Cameron at Workforce Advisory Lawyers – We Know Employment Law on 1300 925 529; 0417 622 178 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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