Welcome to the September-October 2017 edition of the ABCC Industry Update.

Our 2016-17 Annual Report was tabled in the Parliament in October. The Annual Report reflects a highly productive year across the agency. A summary of the report features in this edition of the Industry Update.

The last two months have been another very busy period for the agency, particularly in relation to our court cases, Building Code matters, and work in the wages and entitlements space.

A number of significant court decisions have been handed down since the last Industry Update. Six penalty decisions have resulted in penalties totalling more than $715,000 against the CFMEU and its representatives for breaches of Australian workplace laws.

In a case involving the major Barangaroo project in Sydney, the court has determined liability but is yet to finalise the number of contraventions, penalty and final orders. However, Justice Flick has said the maximum penalty should be applied to the CFMEU for its conduct. This raises the prospect that the union may face penalties in excess of $1 million in this matter.

There have been a number of recent decisions in which the courts have applied the maximum available penalty against the CFMEU. For example, in a decision from October 2017, after imposing the maximum penalty on the CFMEU, one judge stated that if he could have imposed a greater penalty for the contraventions of the Fair Work Act he “most certainly would have done so”.

This edition also outlines the latest legal proceedings commenced by the agency and two right of entry permit outcomes.

We have advice from our Building Code team on the ABCC’s streamlined process for submitting enterprise agreements for re-assessment. This is particularly relevant to those seeking a Letter of Compliance for a Fair Work Commission approved agreement.

There are also details of a new national audit of wages and entitlements in the commercial bricklaying sector. 

As always, if you are seeking information or advice we encourage you to visit our website, contact us via 1800 003 338 or by email at

Cathy Cato
Acting Commissioner ABCC