Consolidated Power Projects Australia Pty Ltd (CPP) has agreed to pay $295,000 to subcontractor High Voltage Constructions Pty Ltd after entering into an enforceable undertaking with the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

CPP was contracted by AusNet Electricity Services Pty Ltd (AusNet) to perform work at the Springvale Terminal Station Redevelopment Project located in Springvale, Victoria.

On 13 August 2019, CPP entered into a Labour Supply Subcontract with the subcontractor to install high voltage electrical equipment.

The following day, CPP became aware the Electrical Trades Union disapproved of the subcontractor. CPP advised the subcontractor words to the effect of:

The ETU are unhappy that High Voltage will be utilised on the project.

CPP requested that the subcontractor leave the site and continue to work offsite.

In the following days, various emails were exchanged and discussions held between CPP and the subcontractor concerning various options that would allow the subcontractor to return to work on the site.

There was ultimately no resolution and on 23 September 2019 CPP terminated the subcontract.

CPP has acknowledged that the ABCC Commissioner, Stephen McBurney, has formed a reasonable belief that CPP contravened section 55 of the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (BCIIP Act) by terminating the subcontract with the subcontractor because it did not have an enterprise agreement.

Without any admission that any contravention of the BCIIP Act has occurred, CPP has agreed to pay the subcontractor $295,000 in compensation.

ABCC Commissioner, Stephen McBurney, has published details of this matter to:

  • deter others from engaging in unlawful discrimination
  • educate building industry participants that they cannot discriminate against building industry contractors because they do not have an enterprise agreement.

Mr McBurney said an enforceable undertaking was an appropriate resolution of the matter given the significant undertakings provided by CPP. CPP have co-operated with the regulator to resolve this matter and demonstrated a commitment to ensuring compliance with workplace laws.

“Under the enforceable undertaking, CPP will pay a substantial amount of $295,000 to the subcontractor.

“CPP has committed to implementing stringent measures to ensure their staff understand their legal rights and obligations. These measures include implementing, at the company’s own cost, workplace training for its employees to create awareness of the BCIIP Act and conduct that may give rise to a contravention of the Act.

“CPP will also be required to publish a ‘workplace notice’ on its intranet site for 28 days and publish a link on its website for 6 months.

“Any contractor who is subject to pressure or any subcontractor who considers they may have been unlawfully discriminated against because of their industrial arrangements should contact the ABCC for advice and assistance." Mr McBurney said.

A copy of the enforceable undertaking is available on the ABCC’s website.