Case name
Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Pomare Auimatagi & Ors
Known as
Pomare Auimatagi
Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link

SYG1823/2015

Applicant

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner

Respondent(s) at time of filing

CFMEU, CFMEU (NSW Branch), Pomare Auimatagi

Date filed
30 June 2015
State/Territory
NSW
Breach(es) found
Coercion
Status
Under appeal
Link to liability judgement

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Auimatagi & Anor [2017] FCCA 1722 (28 July 2017)

Link to penalty judgement

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Auimatagi & Anor (No2) [2018] FCCA 524

Summary of court decision
  • Liability hearing concluded on 9 June 2017.
  • Penalty hearing concluded on 28 February 2018.
  • The penalty decision was handed down on 8 March 2018.
  • The Court ordered penalties totalling $58,500.
  • The matter is now subject to appeal.

The ABCC* launched Federal Circuit Court proceedings against the CFMEU and its official Pomare Auimatagi after he allegedly encouraged workers at a site in NSW to defy a safety policy which had been implemented by the site's head contractor.

The ABCC alleged as follows:

  • Mr Auimatagi encouraged workers at a construction site at the University of Newcastle to attend work the next day wearing shorts and a short sleeved shirt, in breach of the head contractor’s safety policy for mandatory for all workers to wear long trousers and a long sleeved shirt.
  • Mr Auimatagi allegedly addressed workers in the crib huts at the site “Others will tell you that you’re using long sleeves for UV protection but you should have the choice.” “…I’m suggesting that you come to work and make a stand”. He then warned the project manager “If any worker is removed from the site then the whole site will stop work and return to the crib rooms”.
  • The following morning a number of workers breached the site’s safety policy by attended in shorts and short sleeved shirts. In response, the project manager ordered a worker not to return to the site until he was wearing appropriate safety clothing. Up to 50 workers then downed their tools and refused to do any work on the project for the rest of the day.

*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

$51,000

Pomare Auimatagi

$7,500

Total

$58,500

Total penalities

$58,500

Related content
Media release Maximum penalty against CFMEU for flouting safety policy on NSW site