The ABCC has commenced proceedings against the CFMMEU and six of its Queensland-based officials alleging they intimidated NT Worksafe Inspectors and demanded that the head contractor shut down construction at the Palmerston Police Station site.
The case, which has been filed in the Federal Court in Darwin, means that the ABCC currently has a case in every state and territory against the CFMMEU’s construction division.
The $30 million Palmerston Police Station project is an important law and order and community safety facility.
When completed the facility will provide 24-hour police services to the community, including a new Emergency Response Operations Centre and providing for up to 200 police to deliver policing services to the region.
In addition to the allegation of intimidation, the ABCC is also claiming the union officials engaged in adverse action, coercion and misrepresentation while at the site and acted in an improper manner while exercising right of entry.
The ABCC alleges in its statement of claim that during a site entry on 14 May 2018:
- The head contractor called ABCC officers and NT Worksafe Inspectors to the site after two of the CFMMEU officials repeatedly demanded that the contractor shut the site down claiming there were safety issues and threatened that the contractor would “pay the price” if it failed to do so.
- After the ABCC officers attended the site, three of the CFMMEU officials told the site’s Health and Safety Advisor that they were going to make it hard on him because the ABCC had attended the site and because NT WorkSafe Inspectors were coming.
- The same three CFMMEU officials said to the Health and Safety Advisor words to the effect that “we’re going to go through ya now”.
- When NT Worksafe officers arrived at the site, two of the CFMMEU officials – Arturo Menon and Roland Cummins behaved in an intimidating manner towards the Worksafe officers.
- Mr Menon also gave workers misleading information advising them they could leave the site on full pay due to safety concerns.
The maximum penalty for a breach of the Fair Work Act in this case is $63,000 for a body corporate and $12,600 for an individual.