August 2014 Industry Update

FWBC investigator powers

Investigators at Fair Work Building & Construction (FWBC) have certain powers under the Fair Work (Building Industry) Act 2012 which they may exercise when visiting a building or construction site.

It has come to the attention of FWBC that the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), is distributing incorrect information about FWBC investigator powers.

ENTERING PREMISES

An FWBC investigator may enter the premises of a site, provided they reasonably believe the Fair Work Act 2009 applies to work that is being, or has been, performed at that location.

FWBC investigators may also enter a business premises if they reasonably believe that there are records or documents relevant to compliance purposes on the premises, including those accessible from a computer.

ON SITE POWERS

When entering a site, an FWBC investigator must show their identity card. While they are on the premises, it is within their power to:

  • inspect any work, process or object;
  • interview anyone (a person can refuse to be interviewed);
  • ask someone to tell them who is in possession of, or has access to, a record or document;
  • require the person with access to a record or document to hand it over on the spot or within a specific timeframe;
  • inspect and make copies of any record or document kept on the premises (hardcopy or on computer); and
  • take samples of any goods or substances in line with the regulations.

Any person who obstructs, hinders, intimidates or resists an FWBC investigator in the performance of their functions may be committing an offence.

EXAMINATION POWERS

If investigators are unable to obtain the information they require voluntarily, and all other avenues have been exhausted, the Director may consider using the examination powers under the Fair Work (Building Industry) Act 2012 to compel a person to attend an interview and answer questions.

MORE INFORMATION

If you have any questions, you can call our Hotline on 1800 003 338 for confidential advice or you can find more information on our website at: www.fwbc.gov.au/powers-fair-work-building-industry-inspectors.

We value your feedback on our Industry Update. Please provide feedback or tell us what you would like in your update by contacting us at media [at] fwbc.gov.au.

Return to newsletters