December 2012 Industry Update
Happy Holidays from FWBC
This month we are not only celebrating the end of a great year of hard work, but a fantastic first six months of Fair Work Building & Construction (FWBC).
Since we began operations as FWBC on 1 June, 2012, we have achieved some terrific things, including:
- 67 current active investigations
- 256 investigations
- 206 investigations finalised
- seven civil penalty proceedings commenced
- $305,360 in penalties imposed
- securing more than $100,000 compensation for small operators disadvantaged by unlawful strikes
- recovering $516,796 for underpaid building and construction workers and
- conducting more than 1197 site visits.
I’m very proud of what we have achieved as an agency in our first six months.
Some of the highlights have been:
Grocon proceedings: FWBC commenced civil litigation against the CFMEU and 10 officials in relation to the Grocon dispute seven weeks after it ended. In addition to seeking penalties for unlawful conduct FWBC is also seeking compensation for losses.
Lend Lease: The Federal Court recently ordered the CFMEU, CFMEUQ and the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU) to pay $550,000 to Lend Lease Project Management & Construction (Australia) Pty Ltd (Lend Lease) as a penalty for a campaign of work stoppages on the Gold Coast University Hospital project and Brisbane Supreme Court and District Court project last year. Seven union organisers were also ordered to pay a $40,000 penalty to the Commonwealth as part of the judgment, which was handed down on 19 October 2012. The judgment came after FWBC also secured $101,930 in compensation payments for subcontractors that worked on the two sites.
Joe McDonald and the CFMEU: The Federal Court at Perth ordered the CFMEU and its WA Assistant Secretary Joe McDonald to pay penalties totaling $200,000 and FWBC costs, for a targeted industrial campaign against a construction company. The CFMEU used unlawful tactics which were employed to force a construction company to make an agreement.
CALD campaign: Last month, FWBC launched our Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) campaign. The launch was an important first step in the delivery of the campaign, which will connect some of Australia’s most vulnerable workers with information that will enable them to productively contribute to the industry, without being ripped off or put in danger. We have translated a range of information into eight different languages – Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Serbian, Korean, Arabic and Tagalog – to help CALD workers understand their rights and entitlements.
FWBC will close at midday on Monday, 24 December 2012 and resume normal business hours on Wednesday, 2 January 2013. FWBC Chief Counsel Brian Corney will be the Acting Chief Executive from 2 to 14 January 2013.
The FWBC Hotline will remain operational from 7am to 7pm EST seven days a week over the Christmas and New Year break. You can call the Hotline on 1800 003 338.
I hope everyone working in Australia’s construction industry enjoys a hard-earned break over the Christmas and New Year period.
I look forward to another productive and prosperous year next year.
We value your feedback on our Industry Update. Please let us know your views at publicaffairs [at] fwbc.gov.au.