The Federal Circuit Court in Sydney has imposed penalties totaling $13,500 against the CFMMEU and its then organiser Luke Collier after he refused to follow OHS procedures while on the $163 million Barangaroo Headland Park site on 5 March 2014.
Mr Collier was penalised $2,700 which brings total penalties imposed by the Courts against him to $63,600.
Mr Collier admitted it was an OHS requirement that visitors attending the site remain accompanied by a project representative who has undertaken a full site induction.
In the earlier liability judgment, the Court found that the request was a reasonable one in the circumstances. Despite the request being made of him, Mr Collier proceeded onto the site without being accompanied by a relevant project representative. The judgment of the Court stated:
“[Mr Collier’s] subsequent conduct in embarking on the safety walk was therefore left without a reasonable explanation. His action could be described as arbitrary, capricious and impulsive.”
The liability judgment further refers to police attending site and forcibly removing Mr Collier. It states:
The police determined the entry to be unlawful and advised Sloane and Collier that they were trespassing.
The Police Officer said: “We are telling you now that you are here unlawfully and asking you to leave the site.”
Collier said: “What are you going to do if I don't leave.”
The Police Officer used an official phrase and said, “I am (mentioned his title), ....” the inspector then proceeded to say words that included, “I will now have to forcibly remove you from the premises.”
Earlier this year Mr Collier was penalised $40,400 for his unlawful conduct on the Barangaroo South site where he was found to have attempted to intimidate ABCC inspectors by reading out an inspector’s mobile number during an address to workers. Total penalties of $1.7 million were imposed by the Federal Court in the Barangaroo South case.
ABCC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said the unlawful conduct of Mr Collier and the CFMMEU exhibited in these cases were an ongoing concern for the ABCC.
“It is worth noting that the Barangaroo Headland Park case was the first filed against Mr Collier. Since then his unlawful conduct on site escalated resulting in significant penalties in other matters,” Mr McBurney said.
“In this case, he refused to follow safety instructions that are in place to protect workers and visitors to a site.
“The ABCC remains focused and committed to enforcing the law on building and construction sites both in New South Wales and throughout Australia. The defiance of workplace laws by officials of the CFMMEU shows no sign of abating. It is reflected in $4.2 million in penalties imposed by the Courts last financial year.”
The penalties imposed on Mr Collier and the CFMMEU brings total penalties against the union to $16.46 million imposed by the Courts in litigation brought by the ABCC and its predecessor agencies.