The ABCC has commenced legal action in the Federal Court against the CFMMEU and two of its officers alleging right of entry contraventions at the Central Energy Plant Towers Upgrade in South Brisbane.
The ABCC alleges the CFMMEU officers, Andrew Blakeley and Beau Seiffert, acted in an improper manner and repeatedly refused to sign-in and comply with the site’s occupational health and safety and COVID-19 requirements. It’s further alleged Mr Blakeley verbally abused a site manager.
In its Statement of Claim filed with the Court, the ABCC alleges:
- On 23 November 2020, Mr Blakeley directed workers to cease work when he had no power to do so and both officers defied the site manager’s request for them to leave, with Mr Blakeley saying:
We aren’t going anywhere.
- The officers continued to walk around the project site and refused to follow the site manager’s repeated requests for them to leave or wait at the gate until Work Health and Safety Queensland (WHS) Inspectors had arrived.
- Throughout the visit, Mr Blakeley shouted abuse at the site manager, including:
What the f**k are you doing here – I need you to come here and look at something… sort out the f**king access here.
You don’t know what the f**k you are doing… this isn’t good enough.
- The officers continued to refuse to comply with the site manager’s repeated requests to wait by the gate for the WHS inspectors to arrive.
- At no time did either Mr Blakeley or Mr Seiffert sign-in or complete a COVID-19 declaration to enter the site.
The ABCC alleges the officials and the CFMMEU have contravened sections 499 and 500 of the Fair Work Act 2009.
The maximum penalty for each contravention of the Fair Work Act is $66,600 for the CFMMEU and $13,320 for the officials.
The ABCC is also seeking personal payment orders against Mr Blakeley and Mr Seiffert. Such an order would require Court imposed penalties to be paid personally by the officers and not paid or reimbursed directly or indirectly by the CFMMEU or through crowd funding.