The CFMEU and three of its officials have been penalised $130,000 for industrial action which shut down work at multiple construction projects across Brisbane, including Ronald McDonald House and the Commonwealth Games Velodrome site.                           

The Federal Court in Brisbane today ordered the CFMEU to pay $100,000, while three union organisers, Kurt Pauls, Justin Steele and Eddie Bland were ordered to pay $10,000 each for coercive conduct and organising industrial action.

As part of the settlement of the case two CFMEU officials will undertake right of entry training.

The targeted unlawful action saw work halted for two days at six Queensland projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars on 19 and 20 August 2016:

  • Ronald McDonald House
  • Commonwealth Games Velodrome project
  • Mary Street Project
  • Southpoint Project
  • Newstead Apartments Project
  • Pullman Ibis Hotel and Convention Centre Project, Brisbane Airport.

The Federal Court found the industrial action was aimed to pressure the head contractor to only use subcontractors who had enterprise agreements with the CFMEU or into consulting the union before engaging subcontractors.

In his judgment, Justice Rangiah said the “conduct was designed to disrupt the six projects and cause [the head contractor] economic harm.”

The Court said the respondents' attempts to coerce the contractor into “acceding to the CFMEU's industrial agenda must be regarded as a very serious matter.”

Justice Rangiah said the courts have repeatedly emphasised the need for specific deterrence of the union’s conduct, saying: “The CFMEU has a very extensive history of contraventions of industrial laws.”

ABCC Commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss welcomed today’s decision as yet another reminder that the rule of law must be complied with.

“The near-maximum penalties show that the CFMEU cannot continue to resort to unlawful conduct to force others to bend to its will,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

“This action was calculated to cause significant disruption to work on important public projects and hold contractors to ransom.

“These were vital projects intended to support families and back our sporting champions, not for unions to try to flex their industrial muscle at the expense of the community.”

View the ABCC legal case summary


Media Release
28 July 2017