Commissioner welcomes penalty increase for CFMEU

01 April, 2017

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss this week welcomed the Federal Court’s decision to increase penalties against the CFMEU and six union officials after they blocked major works at the $80 million Perth International Airport Arrivals Expansion Project in 2013.

Hadgkiss, who became commissioner of the ABCC when it was reintroduced in December, says it was pleasing such disregard for the law was appropriately penalised.

Hear what he has to say about the activities of the ABCC at a WA Works Sundowner on 27 April.

The CFMEU and six of its officials – including former National President Joe McDonald, WA

State Secretary Mick Buchan and Assistant Secretary Cam McCullough – have been dealt

penalties totalling $242,000 for the blockade.

The Federal Court had previously penalised the union and its officials a total of $21,225 for

the unlawful conduct – which saw about 100 protestors prevent workers from

accessing the site – in a decision handed down in May 2016.

The increased penalties are the result of a successful appeal of the May 2016 decision by

the ABCC.

The Full Court accepted the ABCC’s submissions that the initial penalties were “manifestly

inadequate” and that the primary judge had failed to take into account the significant prior

histories of several of the respondents in contravening workplace laws.

Hadgkiss says the decision to impose higher penalties reflects the recidivist nature of the unlawful workplace activity by the CFMEU.

“In this case the CFMEU ignored lawful dispute resolution avenues, deliberately choosing

instead to take unlawful and disruptive action,” he says.

“It is important that such disregard for the rule of law is appropriately penalised. No one is above the law.”

At the sundowner, Hadgkiss will speak about the transition to the ABCC and what it means for building industry participants, activities of the ABCC since the transition and its priorities for the next 12 months.

►Register for the next WA Works Sundowner to hear Nigel Hadgkiss share his insights into the reintroduction ABCC and what it means for building industry participants.