CFMEU’s Mick Powell facing Federal Court over Ringwood Aquanation site entries

FWBC has launched Federal Court proceedings against CFMEU organiser Michael Powell for four alleged Right of Entry breaches on the $45 million Kane Constructions Aquanation project in Ringwood, Victoria.

Aquanation is a new aquatic centre being constructed for Maroondah City Council with funding from the Council, and the state and federal governments. When completed, Aquanation will feature a 10 lane pool, diving facilities, a warm water pool, a leisure play pool, a gym, child care facilities and a café. The facility will also house the State Diving Centre.

On four dates in 2014, Mr Powell attended the project and asserted that he was entering the site to assist the elected health and safety representative. Mr Powell does not hold a Federal Right of Entry permit, but entered the site on 21 May, 22 May, 15 July and 28 October. He was asked to produce his Right of Entry permit on three occasions and entered the site on each occasion despite not having one.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said Right of Entry breaches were a huge problem for Australia’s building and construction industry.

“It is imperative that Right of Entry laws allow union officials to enter sites for a variety of reasons, especially safety. But those laws must be obeyed. Holding a Right of Entry permit is a privilege. All we ask is that permit holders behave within the law,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

“Breaching Right of Entry laws can cause huge disruptions to projects, which costs money. And in the case of government-funded projects, costs the taxpayer money when these breaches contribute to delays,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

FWBC currently has 44 active investigations into Right of Entry breaches on building and construction sites across the country.

The maximum penalty available for each contravention in this matter is $10,200 for an individual.


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