A landmark Federal Court decision on right of entry has reconfirmed that union officials entering work sites under State or Territory OHS laws must hold a valid Federal right of entry permit and must show that permit when asked to do so.
The ABCC brought court proceedings against the CFMMEU and seven officials alleging they had unlawfully entered the Bruce Highway, Caloundra project site in early 2018, causing delays and prompting the attendance of Queensland Police.
On 20 April 2018, the Federal Court granted the ABCC an injunction which prevented the seven CFMMEU officials from entering the site unless they complied with Federal right of entry laws.
The case concerned the operation of section 81(3) of the Queensland Work Health and Safety Act 2011, which permitted representatives to enter sites to attend discussions to resolve health and safety issues.
This provision is part of the uniform Work Health and Safety laws that apply in all other States and Territories (except Victoria and Western Australia).
The judgement reinforces a 2017 Full Federal Court ruling that union officials must hold a valid federal right of entry permit when entering a site under a State or Territory OHS law.
The Fair Work Commission issues Federal right of entry permits if they are satisfied that the union official is a fit and proper person.
You can check if a union official holds a valid entry permit on the entry permit page of the ABCC website.
The judgment can be viewed on the Federal Court portal.
The outcome has also been reported on in today’s (Thursday 24 October) Australian Financial Review and Courier Mail newspapers.