CFMMEU and officials penalised $114,000 after unlawfully disrupting Queensland site

21 March 2023

The Federal Court has imposed $114,000 in penalties against the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) and three current and former officials after they unlawfully disrupted a Sunshine Coast project site.

The penalties are the result of legal action commenced by the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC) in relation to conduct at the Bruce Highway, Caloundra project site.

In July 2018, CFMMEU officials Blake Hynes, Te Aranui Albert and Michael Ravbar breached the Fair Work Act by hindering and/or obstructing workers at the site and Hynes acted in an improper manner.

The project involved a major upgrade of the Bruce Highway to six lanes between Caloundra Road and the Sunshine Motorway.

The conduct of the CFMMEU officials in blocking a truck carrying concrete girders had the consequence that the truck was unable to be unloaded. The breaches led to that work activity ceasing.

In addition to the above, on a second occasion Mr Hynes also breached the Fair Work Act by engaging in improper conduct when he yelled in an aggressive tone at a safety adviser at the site.

The court found that the CFMMEU had accessorial liability for the actions of the officials.

The Federal Court has imposed penalties of $88,000 against the CFMMEU for seven contraventions, $12,000 against Mr Hynes for three contraventions, and $7,000 against each of Mr Albert and Mr Ravbar for two contraventions each.

The court has made personal payment orders against Mr Hynes and Mr Ravbar.

Under federal legislation, responsibility for the case transferred from the ABCC to the Fair Work Ombudsman in December 2022.

Fair Work Ombudsman Sandra Parker said court penalties are important to affirm the seriousness of breaching laws related to disrupting work on construction sites.

“Consistent with other industries, in commercial building and construction the Fair Work Ombudsman will investigate reports of non-compliance and hold to account those who are acting outside the law,” Ms Parker said.

In imposing the penalties, Federal Court Justice Berna Joan Collier found that the breaches were serious and there was a need to impose penalties to deter similar conduct in future.

“The penalty to be imposed on the CFMMEU must be of significant force so as not to simply be part of the cost of doing business,” Justice Collier said.

For more information about abolition of the ABCC and transfer of matters to the FWO, see: Abolition of the ABCC and ROC.

Employers and employees can visit or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free advice and assistance about their rights and obligations in the workplace. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

Follow the Fair Work Ombudsman @fairwork_gov_au or find us on Facebook

Sign up to receive the Fair Work Ombudsman’s media releases direct to your email inbox at

Media inquiries:

Ryan, 0411 430 902,