The Federal Court today ordered CFMMEU state assistant secretary Richard Hassett personally pay a $10,000 penalty for the latest in a series of right of entry breaches.

The court also penalised the CFMMEU $50,000 as a result of Mr Hassett’s breach at the Cattle Hill Wind Farm construction site in Lake Echo in January 2019.

This is the fourth case in which the Court has found Mr Hassett to be in breach of federal workplace laws, having been penalised a total of $39,500 for eight contraventions in earlier proceedings brought by the ABCC.

At the same time the CFMMEU has also been penalised $345,000 following Mr Hassett’s unlawful actions, including in the Cattle Hill Wind Farm matter.

At the time of his unlawful entry on the Cattle Hill Wind Farm construction site, Mr Hassett did not hold a federal right of entry permit. The Court concluded he must have known that he could not enter site under a State occupational health and safety right.

Justice O’Callaghan in his judgment said of Mr Hassett’s offending:

“Mr Hassett must well have known that he had no right to enter the Site, because quite apart from what he must be assumed to have known from his previous encounters in this court, he had only a little more than a month earlier handed back his entry permit to the Fair Work Commission.”

“It follows that, because Mr Hassett must have known that by entering the Site without an entry permit he was contravening the FW Act, the contravention is necessarily a serious one.

“Given that Mr Hassett is a repeat offender, the need for an order that is directed towards specific deterrence is, I would have thought, obvious…”

In requiring Mr Hassett to be personally liable for paying his penalty Justice O’Callaghan went on to say:

“This is also an obvious case for the making of a personal payment order. Mr Hassett was given a chance by Tracey J in The Parliament Square Case … to reflect on his conduct and his responsibilities as a permit holder, but obviously enough he did not do so … In my view, the imposition of a personal payment order is appropriate to ensure, as far as possible, that the burden of the penalty is recognised.”

 Justice O’Callaghan also said of the CFMMEU:

“The CFMMEU is, as the court has said countless times, a large organisation with significant financial resources which exhibits apparent willingness to contravene the FW Act in a serious way to impose its will. In light of those factors, and of the need for deterrence of an organisation of its size, a penalty of $50,000 will be imposed on the CFMMEU for its admitted contravention.”

ABCC Commissioner Stephen McBurney said the level of penalty imposed by the Federal Court on both the CFMMEU and Mr Hassett, along with the imposition of a personal payment order underlined the seriousness with which the Court viewed Mr Hassett’s actions.

“In my submissions to the Court, I described Mr Hassett is a recidivist offender, having contravened right of entry laws eight times in circumstances marked by their frequency, consistency and brazenness.”  Mr McBurney said.

"The personal payment order now imposed is significant, as to date the penalties have not deterred Mr Hassett or the CFMMEU from further contraventions.

“The Tasmanian building and construction industry is vitally important to that State’s economy. A concerning feature of these cases is the wilful disregard exhibited by Mr Hassett and the CFMMEU for the important right of entry and health and safety protections enshrined in workplace laws.

“Mr Hassett is no longer a Federal permit holder. I encourage anyone affected by further unlawful conduct of this type to immediately contact the ABCC and we will take appropriate action.”

Mr Hassett is also a respondent in a further matter filed in the Federal Court on 15 April 2020. 

Matter

CFMMEU

Richard Hassett

Parliament Square

$170,000

$18,000

Brooker Highway

$50,000

$7,500

Living City

$75,000

$14,000

Cattle Hill Wind Farm

$50,000

$10,000

Total

$345,000

$49,500

 

 

Ends

Media Release
21 April 2020

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