The Federal Court in Brisbane has today imposed $58,500 in penalties against the CFMMEU, its State Secretary Michael Ravbar and fellow union official Andrew Sutherland over their unlawful action on the Legacy Way Port Connect Project in 2012.

The penalty follows the CFMMEU, Mr Ravbar and Mr Sutherland, attempting to coerce Brisbane-based crane hire company Universal Cranes into entering into an enterprise agreement with the union.

At the time of the unlawful action Universal Cranes was working on the $1.5 billion Legacy Way Project linking the Western Freeway at Toowong to the Inner City Bypass.

Universal Cranes was also involved in the Port Connect Project upgrading the existing motorway from the Gateway Arterial Road to the Port of Brisbane.

In an earlier liability decision on 10 August 2018, the Federal Court found that in October 2012 Mr Ravbar directed CFMMEU organisers to follow cranes from the crane company’s yard and stop them from operating when they arrived at their destination.

The Court also found that Mr Sutherland had parked a car behind a crane which blocked it from operating at a building project.

At the time of the liability decision Justice Reeves found the conduct contravened the adverse action, coercion and discrimination provisions of the Fair Work Act.

Justice Reeves in his penalty judgment said:

“… the conduct was deliberate and pre-planned and that it involved a large number of CFMMEU organisers acting in concert.” 

“… I can infer that Universal Cranes must have suffered some loss or disadvantage by not being able to use the crane on the Port Connect Project site for a period of approximately six weeks after the incident.”

In assessing the penalties Justice Reeves said he had particular regard to:

“the CFMMEU… is an identified recidivist and that it has, by its conduct, demonstrated a continuing defiance of the law.”

Today’s judgment will see the CFMMEU pay a penalty of $50,000; Mr Ravbar $5,000, and Mr Sutherland $3,500.

The judgment takes to $2.68 million the penalties awarded against the CFMMEU in Queensland in cases brought by the ABCC, while nationally the figure awarded against the CFMMEU is $8.05 million.