CFMEU penalised for breaching right of entry laws

28 March 2024

The Federal Court has imposed a total of $44,500 in penalties against the Construction, Forestry and Maritime Employees Union (CFMEU) and one of its officials for unlawful conduct at a construction site in Adelaide.

The penalties are the result of legal action commenced by the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC).

The CFMEU has been penalised $40,000 and CFMEU official Travis Brook has been penalised an additional $4,500.

Mr Brook, and through him the CFMEU, admitted breaching the right of entry laws in the Fair Work Act on 15 December 2021 at the Norwood Mixed Development Project construction site in Adelaide.

The unlawful conduct was Mr Brook’s failure comply with an occupational health and safety requirement of the head contractor that all visitors to the site must be escorted while on site.

Justice John Snaden found that the penalties imposed should deter Mr Brook and other permit holders within the CFMEU from similar contraventions in future.

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

Fair Work Ombudsman Anna Booth said court penalties are important to affirm the seriousness of breaching right of entry laws.

“Improving compliance across the building and construction industry is a priority for the Fair Work Ombudsman, and we will investigate reports of non-compliance and hold to account those who are acting outside the law,” Ms Booth said.

All building and construction industry employers and employees can seek sector-specific workplace information, advice and assistance from the Fair Work Ombudsman.

Employers and employees can also visit or call the Fair Work Infoline on 13 13 94 for free advice and assistance. An interpreter service is available on 13 14 50.

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