Penalty proceedings

In 2015–16, FWBC commenced 34 proceedings and maintained a very high success rate for litigation. Total penalties imposed as a result of FWBC litigation amounted to $1,826,175. This financial year marks the fifth occasion that penalties have exceeded the $1 million mark in the history of FWBC and its predecessor agencies.

This high level of litigation reflects FWBC's focus on ensuring legislative compliance within the building and construction industry, despite the continued culture of lawlessness within the industry – a fact which continued to be emphasised by the judiciary in 2015–16.

The primary allegations in proceedings continue to relate to FWBC's core business areas of coercion, freedom of association, unlawful industrial action and right of entry. Freedom of association breaches increased from zero to eight in the reporting year.

Table 15 details the results of proceedings as at 30 June 2016.

Table 16 details the penalties imposed as at 30 June 2016, by allegation type. Right of entry and coercion attracted the majority of penalties handed down during 2015–16.

Table 17 shows the court in which FWBC has brought proceedings, listed by the year proceedings commenced.

Table 18 shows the nature of allegations in proceedings commenced by FWBC.

#Table 15: Results of proceedings as at 30 June 2016

Result

2014–15

2015–16

Successful

12

211

Unsuccessful

1

1

Discontinued

1

0

Total

14

22

1. Of the 21 proceedings in which FWBC achieved a successful outcome, five matters were under appeal at the end of the 2015–16 financial year.

#Table 16: Penalties imposed as at 30 June 2016

Type of penalty

2014–15
$

2015–16
$

Right of entry

359,700

915,0501

Coercion

665,500

599,7752

Unlawful industrial action

22,000

146,600

Freedom of association

7,500

133,500

Wages and entitlements3

147,500

19,250

Sham contracting

39,600

-

Other

155,000

12,000

Total

1,396,800

1,826,175

Suspended

-

98,000

1. Of the $915,050 awarded in right of entry penalties, $483,200 was under appeal at the end of the 2015–16 financial year.

2. Of the $599,775 awarded in coercion penalties, $166,650 was under appeal at the end of the 2015–16 financial year.

3. Responsibility for all new wages and entitlements matters was transferred to FWO at the end of 2013. FWBC finalised its last wages and entitlements matter, initiated prior to the transfer of responsibility to FWO, in December 2015.

#Table 17: Venue of proceedings commenced by FWBC

Venue

2014–15

2015–16

Federal Court

27

25

Federal Circuit Court

9

9

Total

36

34

#Table 18: Nature of allegations in proceedings commenced by FWBC*

Nature of allegation

2014–15

2015–16

Coercion

9

11

Right of entry

20

8

Freedom of association

0

8

Unlawful industrial action

7

7

Total

36

34

*Note: Each case is counted only once. Where a case involves more than one type of allegation, the type most central to the proceedings is selected.