Court places CFMEU exclusion zone around Bald Hills Wind Farm site

The Federal Court of Australia has today banned the CFMEU from placing or leaving vehicles or any other equipment within 200 metres of any entrance to the Bald Hills Wind Farm construction site in South East Victoria. Fifty-two wind turbines are being constructed at the site. The expanded Federal Court orders made today also prevent the CFMEU from threatening, abusing or harassing any person trying to enter or exit the Bald Hills Site.

The CFMEU must publish a copy of the orders on its website and provide a written copy to its officers Derek Christopher, Ralph Edwards, Bill Beattie, Joe Myles and Drew McDonald, Toby Thornton, Alex Tadic, Rob Graauwmans and Mick Powell.

Fair Work Building & Construction sought an urgent hearing after problems at the $400 million site flared up on Tuesday 15 April 2014. FWBC alleged that all entrances to the site were blocked and that work was disrupted.

On 2 April 2014, the CFMEU gave the Federal Court an undertaking that the site would not prevent access to and from the site and the court made orders to that effect. This was after blockades allegedly occurred at the site on 18 February and on 20, 21 and 26 March. During this time, workers were prevented from entering the site to perform work and truck deliveries of materials to the site were stopped because of the blockade.

FWBC alleged that conduct at the site yesterday was in breach of the Federal Court order and is investigating allegations of coercion and adverse action. Her Honour Justice Davies said words to the effect that the actions of the CFMEU appeared to be in direct contravention of the undertaking that had been given to the court on 2 April 2014. Her Honour said words to the effect she considered failure to comply with the court orders as a very serious matter.

FWBC Director Nigel Hadgkiss said disobeying a Federal Court Order was extremely serious. “I want to put all industry participants on notice that conduct of this nature will not be tolerated. FWBC stands ready to investigate and where necessary bring allegations of unlawful conduct before the courts,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

Mr Hadgkiss urged building and construction industry participants to phone FWBC’s Hotline on 1800 003 338 for confidential information about their workplace rights.

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