CFMEU official allegedly threatens 'war' and another 'Kane' situation

FWBC is taking the CFMEU and two of its officials to court after one of the officials allegedly threatened a major construction company operations manager that if police were called to escort them off a site he would be “starting a war and it will be no different to what we have done with Kane”.

In its case filed in the Federal Court, FWBC is alleging that CFMEU officials Mark Travers and Adam Hall broke right of entry laws at the $45 million Taxi Lane Replacement Project at Melbourne Airport.

When told that the officials hadn’t given 24 hours’ notice in accordance with right of entry laws, Mr Travers allegedly responded “No, we don’t have to give 24 hours’ notice. I’m just catching up with my mate Rod [a site labourer and health and safety representative].

Mr Travers alleged they were discussing “a safety issue” with the health and safety representative, but did not raise any safety concerns with the project manager, the site supervisor or with the Australian Federal Police when they arrived in response to the project manager’s call. Nor did anyone notify FWBC of any safety issues during its investigation.

After numerous requests to leave the site were ignored, the two officials were told that the police would be called. Mr Travers allegedly told the operations manager “If he [the project manager] calls the police I won’t leave…if you do that you are starting a war…”.

While Mr Travers and Mr Hall were still on site, the operations manager made a telephone call to Ralph Edwards, President of the CFMEU’s Construction and General Division Victoria/Tasmania Divisional branch, requesting that he intervene and instruct Mr Travers and Mr Hall to comply with the law. Mr Edwards allegedly refused to do so.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said all members of the building and construction industry are expected to comply with the law. “Reports of threats of retaliatory conduct are particularly concerning,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

FWBC is alleging that the CFMEU, Mr Travers and Mr Hall broke the law on a total of four occasions.

The maximum penalties available to the Court in this case are $10,200 for an individual and $51,000 for a union per breach.

More information can be found in the media backgrounder.

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