On 18 March 2019, Judge Nicholls in the Federal Circuit Court in Sydney found former CFMMEU official Luke Collier liable for contravening section 499 of the Fair Work Act, after he refused to follow occupational health and safety procedures while on the $163 million Barangaroo project site in March 2014.
Judge Nicholls found that a request had been made of Mr Collier to comply with an OHS requirement that applied to the site—namely, that he not enter the site unless accompanied by a fully site-inducted Lend Lease project representative.
The Court accepted that this request was contained in the visitor induction document, which accompanied the sign-on book that Mr Collier signed prior to entering the site. The judge found that the request was a reasonable one in the circumstances. Despite the request being made of him, Mr Collier proceeded onto the site without being accompanied by a relevant project representative. Consequently, Mr Collier breached section 499 of the Fair Work Act.
The Court will be hearing from the parties on whether declarations should also be made against the CFMMEU (and the CFMMEU’s NSW Branch), and on whether pecuniary penalties should be imposed.