The ABCC filed Federal Court proceedings on 24 August 2020 against the CFMMEU for an alleged breach of right of entry laws in the Fair Work Act 2009 at the NEXT DC P2 Project in Perth in December 2019.
The ABCC alleges the CFMMEU contravened right of entry laws when one of its officials refused to comply with a requirement to be escorted while exercising right of entry at the site and then stood sufficiently close to workers who were unloading doorframes from a truck that his presence was intrusive and refused to move when requested to do so by the workers.
In its statement of claim filed in the Federal Court on 24 August 2020, the ABCC alleges:
- On Thursday 5 December 2019, the CFMMEU official attempted to enter the site through a service gate, for which no pedestrian access was permitted.
- A security guard asked the official to enter via the visitor entry. The official insisted he should be permitted to enter through the service gate, as he had a right of entry.
- The site manager approached the official and asked him to meet them at another entry point. After walking away from the service gate, the official entered through the visitor entry and was told:
Site manager: “We are just commencing our safety walk to check the site is safe with regard to the inclement weather. You are hindering our safety protocol. You have to leave.”
- Following a conversation with the site manager, the official walked past the Security Hut and onto the site.
- After a short time, the official returned to the Security Hut and signed the visitor register. There was a sign at the Security Hut and note on the visitor register informing visitors of a requirement to be escorted whilst on site.
- The official returned onto the site without an escort accompanying him. After about 20 minutes on the site, he proceeded to stand close enough to workers while they unloaded doorframes from a truck that his presence was intrusive.
- The official was asked on numerous occasions to move from where he was standing but refused to comply and his presence continued to be intrusive.
The maximum penalty for each contravention of the Fair Work Act 2009 is $63,000 for the CFMMEU and $12,600 for the official.