BACKGROUND

When investigating a complaint, Fair Work Building Industry Inspectors will initially seek to obtain information voluntarily.

The Director may, however, consider using the examination powers contained in the Fair Work (Building Industry) Act 2012 (FWBI Act) if relevant information is not provided voluntarily.

The Director may apply to exercise those powers to investigate a contravention by a building industry participant of workplace laws.

FWBC EXAMINATION POWERS

The Director may seek to have a person:

  • attend to before the Director to answer questions
  • provide information to the Director
  • produce documents to the Director.

The powers can be used where the Director believes on reasonable grounds that a person:

  • has information or documents relevant to an investigation
  • is capable of giving evidence relevant to the investigation.

The powers may only be exercised by the Director applying to, and approved by, a presidential member of the Commonwealth Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT). The AAT presidential member must issue an examination notice if the member is satisfied about the matters listed in the FWBI Act and the Fair Work (Building Industry) Regulations 2005.

Under s 54A(3) of the FWBI Act, the Commonwealth Ombudsman is required to review the exercise of examination powers by the Director and any person assisting the Director.

Section 54A(6) requires the Commonwealth Ombudsman to report to Parliament after the end of each financial year about the examinations conducted by the Director and the results of reviews carried out by the Commonwealth Ombudsman during that year.

USE OF COMPLIANCE POWERS IN 2012-13

During the reporting period, FWBC successfully applied for the issue of two examination notices as part of one investigation. This investigation was still ongoing as at 30 June 2013.

FWBC did not conduct any examinations under s.45 of the FWBI Act during the reporting period.

FWBC did not apply for the issue of any other examination notices.