Case name
Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union & Ors
Known as
Perth International Airport Case
Commonwealth Courts Portal reference and link

WAD289/2014

 

Applicant

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner

Respondent(s) at time of filing

CFMEU, Michael Buchan, Joseph McDonald, Walter Molina, Peter Joshua, Campbell McCullough, Tawa Harris

Date filed
15 September 2014
State/Territory
WA
Breach(es) found
Coercion
Status
Finalised
Link to liability judgement

Director of the Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union [2016] FCA 616

Link to Federal Court appeal judgement

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union [2017] FCAFC 53

Summary of court decision

Special leave to appeal the application was heard by the High Court on 15 September 2017. The High Court refused special leave.

In a majority decision on 29 March 2017 the Full Court of the Federal Court imposed penalties totalling $242,000 on the respondents. This decision was the result of the ABCC's appeal of a penalty decision handed down on 30 May 2016 in which penalties totalling $23,500 were imposed on the respondents.

The ABCC* commenced proceedings in the Federal Court against the CFMEU, CFMEU WA Branch President Campbell McCullough, CFMEU WA Branch Secretary Michael Buchan, CFMEU WA Branch Assistant Secretary Joseph McDonald and three other union officials.

The ABCC alleged the CFMEU and other respondents intended to coerce Perth Airport Pty Ltd and its contractors at the Perth International Airport’s Arrivals Expansion Project. It was alleged the respondents took coercive action on 22 October 2013, in the form of a blockade of the project site, because of allegations of unpaid entitlements. The blockade allegedly involved 100 people occupying the site entrances in a way that prevented or dissuaded 160 employees from entering the site.

It was alleged that respondent Mr Molina and another person wearing a CFMEU logo on their shirt spoke to a subcontractor who was attempting to enter the site and said “You are not going on Site today” and “Can you please just wait until the camera crews have gone before you come back on Site?”

The ABCC alleged the CFMEU, and Messrs Buchan, McDonald, Joshua, Molina, McCullough and Harris contravened s348 of the Fair Work Act.

On 29 March 2017 the Full Court of the Federal Court ordered the CFMEU pay $195,000, Mr McDonald pay $17,5000, Mr Buchan pay $9,000, Mr Molina pay $9,000, Mr Joshua pay $5,000, Mr Harris pay $4,000 and Mr McCullough pay $2,500.

The ABCC investigated the claimed underpayments and all outstanding entitlements were voluntarily paid.

*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

$195,000

Joseph McDonald

$17,500

Michael Buchan

$9,000

Walter Molina

$9,000

Peter Joshua

$5,000

Tawa Harris

$4,000

Campbell McCullough

$2,500

Total

$242,000

Total penalities

$242,000

Related content
Media release – Ten-fold increase in penalties against CFMEU for Perth Airport blockade