In 2014 to 15, FWBC commenced 36 proceedings (a 50% increase on 2013 to 14) and maintained a high success rate for litigation. Total penalties imposed as a result of FWBC litigation amounted to $1,396,800. This financial year marks the fourth occasion that penalties have exceeded the $1 million mark in the history of FWBC and its predecessor agencies.

These high levels of litigation reflect FWBC’s focus on ensuring legislative compliance within the building and construction industry. Unfortunately, these levels also reflect the continued lawlessness within the industry, a fact which is increasingly commented upon in judicial decisions.

The main areas of allegations continue to relate to unlawful industrial action, coercion and right of entry breaches.

Table 2.18 details the results of proceedings as at 30 June 2015.

When penalties are split by allegation type, it shows that coercion and right of entry attracted the highest amounts of penalties during 2014 to 15. Coercion penalties rose 64% compared to those in 2013 to 14, and penalties for right of entry increased nearly tenfold.

Table 2.19 details the penalties imposed as at 30 June 2015, broken down into allegation type.

Table 2.20 shows where FWBC has brought proceedings, listed by the year proceedings commenced.

Table 2.18 Results of proceedings as at 30 June 2015
  2013 - 15 2014 -  15
Successful 17 12
Unsuccessful 0 1
Discontinued 2 1
Total 19 14
Table 2.19 Penalties imposed as at 30 June 2015
  2013 - 14
($)
2014 - 15
($)
Coercion 405,960 665,500
Right of entry 38,500 359,700
Other 7,920 155,000
Wages and entitlements 189,720 147,500
Sham contracting 200,640 39,600
Unlawful industrial action 1,419,610 22,000
Freedom of association 0 7,500
Strike pay 0 0
Discrimination 0 0
Total 2,262,350 1,396,800
Suspended 387,250
Table 2.20 Venue of proceedings commenced by FWBC
  2013 - 14 2014 - 15
Federal Court 18 27
Federal Circuit Court 6 9
Total 24 36
Table 2.21 Nature of allegations of proceedings commenced by FWBC
  2013 - 14 2014 - 15
Right of entry 7 29% 20 56%
Coercion 10 42% 9 25%
Unlawful industrial action 2 8% 7 19%
Freedom of association 0 0% 0 0%
Strike pay 0 0% 0 0%
Discrimination 0 0% 0 0%
Sham contracting 1 4% 0 0%
Non compliance with notices 1 4% 0 0%
Wages and entitlements 3 13% 0 0%
Total 24 100% 36 100%

Table 2.21 shows the nature of allegations of proceedings commenced by FWBC. The 2014 to 15 financial year has seen a large increase in right of entry matters which are now the largest category of proceedings, representing over half of all allegations. A surge in unlawful industrial action allegations accounted for nearly one-fifth of all allegations in proceedings commenced.