Case name
Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union & Anor
Known as
Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union & Anor
Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link

QUD257/2013

Applicant

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner

Respondent(s) at time of filing

CFMEU, CEPU

Date filed
23 May 2013
State/Territory
QLD
Breach(es) found
Industrial action
Status
Finalised
Link to liability and penalty judgement

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union [2017] FCAFC 113

Summary of court decision

The ABCC* alleged that the CFMEU and CEPU were involved in unlawful industrial action taken by workers on the Queensland Children’s Hospital, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and Queensland Institute of Medical Research construction projects on 24, 25 and 26 May 2011.

The workers’ actions were allegedly motivated by a campaign of the CFMEU and the CEPU against sham contracting and were intended to disrupt the performance of work on the respective sites.

On 3 August 2017, the Full Federal Court handed down a penalty judgment, totalling $430,000 for unlawful industrial action taken by the CFMEU and CEPU, ordering that the CFMEU pay a pecuniary penalty of $300,000 and the CEPU pay a pecuniary penalty of $130,000 for their respective contraventions of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 (Cth) (BCII Act).

The Full Federal Court found the CFMEU, by the conduct of its officers on 24, 25 and 26 May 2011, was directly knowingly concerned in and party to contraventions of section s 38 of the BCII Act:

(a) contraventions by approximately 165 persons who engaged in unlawful industrial action by failing or refusing to attend for building work at the construction site of the Queensland Children’s Hospital on 24, 25 and 26 May 2011, in circumstances where that action was industrially motivated, constitutionally-connected and not excluded action as defined in the BCII Act;

(b) contraventions by approximately 260 persons who engaged in unlawful industrial action by failing or refusing to attend for building work at the construction site of the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre and on 24, 25 and 26 May 2011, in circumstances where that action was industrially motivated, constitutionally-connected and not excluded action as defined in the BCII Act;

(c) contraventions by approximately 180 persons who engaged in unlawful industrial action by failing or refusing to attend for building work at the construction site of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research on 24, 25 and 26 May 2011 in circumstances where that action was industrially motivated, constitutionally-connected and not excluded action as defined in the BCII Act.

The Full Federal Court also found that the CEPU, by the conduct of its officers, on 24,25, and 26 May 2011, was directly concerned in and a party to contraventions of section 38 of the BCII Act:

(a) contraventions by approximately 165 persons who engaged in unlawful industrial action by failing or refusing to attend for building work at the construction site of the Queensland Children’s Hospital on 24, 25 and 26 May 2011, in circumstances where that action was industrially motivated, constitutionally-connected and not excluded action as defined in the BCII Act;

(b) contraventions by approximately 180 persons who engaged in unlawful industrial action by failing or refusing to attend for building work at the construction site of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research on 24, 25 and 26 May 2011 in circumstances where that action was industrially motivated, constitutionally-connected and not excluded action as defined in the BCII Act.

*This matter was originally filed by Fair Work Building and Construction (FWBC). On 2 December 2016, FWBC became the ABCC.

Penalities

Penalties awarded against

Penalties awarded

CFMEU

$300,000

CEPU

$130,000

Total

$430,000

Total penalities

$430,000

Related content

Media release – Federal Court penalises CFMEU & CEPU $430,000 for unlawful Brisbane action