Case name
Australian Building and Construction Commission v Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union & Ors
Known as
The Bruce Highway Caloundra to Sunshine Upgrade Case
Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link

QUD 238/2108

Date filed
18 April 2018
State/Territory
QLD
Breach(es) found
Non-compliance with right of entry laws
Status
Current
Link to liability judgment

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union [2019] FCA 1737 (23 October 2019)https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2019/2019fca1737

Summary of court decision

On 20 April 2018, the ABCC was granted a temporary injunction preventing seven CFMMEU officials from entering the Bruce Highway, Caloundra project site unless they complied with their federal right of entry requirements – including producing their federal permit for inspection on site when requested to do so. 

The $812 million project involved a major upgrade of the Bruce Highway to six lanes spanning nine kilometres between Caloundra Rd and the Sunshine Motorway on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

Between 8 March and 17 April 2018, CFMMEU officials entered the Commonwealth and Queensland government-funded project site, the Fulton Hogan Seymour Whyte Construction Joint Venture, on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland on nine separate occasions, each time refusing to show their federal right of entry permits. 

On each occasion, the CFMMEU officials told site managers they were entering the site under section 81(3) of the WHS Act and were not required to show their federal right of entry permits. 

The unlawful entries resulted in work stopping, shifts being cancelled, safety issues, project delays and increased costs because of the delays. Queensland Police also attended the site on four occasions. 

Of the seven CFMMEU officials, (Beau Seiffert, Te Aranui Albert, Blake Hynes, Luke Gibson, Mathew Parfitt, Royce Kupsch and Kurt Pauls) all with the exception of one, Kurt Pauls, held valid federal right of entry permits. 

The ABCC alleged that each of the CFMMEU officials (other than Pauls) had contravened right of entry provisions of the FW Act in relation to the relevant entries. The ABCC also alleged that the CFMMEU and Pauls were accessories to the alleged contraventions.

 

On 23 October 2019 the Federal Court delivered its judgment reinforcing the requirement that union officials must hold and, when requested, show a valid federal right of entry permit when entering construction sites whilst exercising a state or territory OHS right

The Federal Court will list the matter for a penalty hearing at a later date.

Related content

Media release - Federal Court decision reaffirms that union officials must comply with federal right of entry lawshttps://www.abcc.gov.au/news-and-media/federal-court-decision-reaffirms-union-officials-must-comply-federal-right-entry-laws