Case name
Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Steven Parker & Ors
Known as
Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel
Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link


Australian Building and Construction Commissioner
  • CFMMEU, Steven Parker
Date filed
Alleged breach(es)
Industrial action
Date finalised

The Federal Court penalised CFMMEU shop steward Steven Parker $5,000 and the union $85,000 for taking unlawful industrial action at the $11 billion Melbourne Metro Tunnel project in 2019.

The Federal Court found Mr Parker directed two groups of workers at the project to not commence work due to inadequate first aid facilities and inadequate lighting, including a claim the first aid bed was too high.

Many of the workers remained in their crib shed before commencing work despite having been told by their employers that there was no immediate risk to their safety.

Speaking about Mr Parker’s actions the Court said:

There is no evidence that Mr Parker has expressed contrition for his conduct. I find that he has not apologised for it.”

Referring to the CFMMEU’s history of recidivism, Justice Kerr said:

“Unlike Mr Parker the Union has a gross history of prior offending against industrial legislation.”

In relation to health and safety, Justice Kerr said:

“On that understanding what the Union has done is a modern acknowledgment of the moral of the boy who cried wolf—that too many such cries can lead to demands for safety measures being ignored even when they may be fully justified and need to be instantly responded to."

The Court ordered Mr Parker’s penalty be suspended for three years on the condition he does not commit a further offence against the BCIIP Act for that period.


Historical content

CFMMEU penalised over safety claims including first aid bed was "too high" on Melbourne Metro Tunnel Project