The Queensland state secretary of the CFMMEU, Michael Ravbar, has abandoned his application to renew his right of entry permit. Mr Ravbar is no longer authorised to exercise entry rights in accordance with the Fair Work Act 2009.
Mr Ravbar filed an application with the Fair Work Commission to renew his Federal right of entry permit on 23 March 2021. The Australian Building and Construction Commissioner Stephen McBurney intervened in the proceeding arguing Mr Ravbar was not a fit and proper person to hold a permit.
In opposing the application for the permit, the Commissioner submitted that under Mr Ravbar’s watch the QLD Division and its officials have contravened industrial law on 175 occasions in 28 separate proceedings.
The ABCC has previously relied upon the conduct of the relevant official to oppose permit applications. In this case, the Commissioner advanced submissions concerning Mr Ravbar’s conduct in a leadership position of the Union. Having presided over a history of defiance of industrial laws, the Commissioner sought to squarely raise this as a disqualifying factor.
The Commissioner also submitted that Mr Ravbar condoned and approved the payment by the CFMMEU of penalties imposed against its officials who were found to have contravened the law –demonstrating an attitude inconsistent with what is expected of a permit holder.
As a further disqualifying factor, the Commissioner relied upon the finding of the Federal Court in 2019, which imposed penalties of $58,500 against the CFMMEU, Mr Ravbar and union official Andrew Sutherland over their unlawful action on the $1.5 billion Legacy Way Port Connect Project in 2012. Mr Ravbar was penalised $5,000 for his involvement.
Mr Ravbar joins many of his interstate officials on the no permit list. Other construction division state secretaries who have lost their permits include Darren Greenfield, NSW; John Setka, VIC/TAS; Andrew Sutherland, SA; and Michael Buchan, WA. In addition, ACT state secretary Jason O’Mara had his permit suspended for three months following ABCC action.
Mr Ravbar remains a respondent in two current ABCC matters, ABCC v Albert & Others (Caloundra Road to Sunshine Motorway/CR2SM) and ABCC v CFMMEU & Others (Southbank New Performing Arts Venue). The ABCC is alleging Mr Ravbar contravened right of entry laws in both cases and is seeking personal payment orders against him.
ABCC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said: “I submitted to the Fair Work Commission that Mr Ravbar has failed to take meaningful or effective steps to curb the repeated contravening conduct of union officials. This is a failure of governance by Mr Ravbar.
“The law provides that only individuals who pass the fit and proper person test are eligible to hold a Federal right of entry permit. This is a diminishing number among the senior leadership of this particular union.
“It is important that when permit holders break the law, we use our regulatory powers to hold them to account. We also have a statutory responsibility to seek to suspend or revoke the permits of officials who are not fit to exercise the important privileges afforded to permit holders.”
For a full list of officials who do not hold a valid federal entry permit or who have conditions imposed on their federal entry permit, visit the ABCC right of entry permit lists website.