19 July 2016Adelaide right of entry breaches lead to a further $132,000 in penalties for CFMEU

The Federal Court today handed down penalties totalling $132,000 against the CFMEU and five of its officials for unlawful conduct at three construction sites across Adelaide in 2014.

CFMEU SA State Secretary Aaron Cartledge, Assistant Secretary Michael McDermott, and officials David Bolton, Michael Huddy and Brendan Pitt were all found to have entered the sites unlawfully, either failing or refusing to comply with right of entry provisions set out in the Fair Work Act 2009.

At the Southern Expressway Duplication, Mr Bolton, Mr Huddy and Mr Pitt refused to comply with lawful requests from site management and police were required to attend the project.

The penalties come just three months after the South Australian Branch of the CFMEU and 15 officials were penalised $937,100 for breaching right of entry laws in seven cases relating to conduct that also took place in 2014.

In handing down the judgment, Justice Collier found no evidence of contrition or corrective action by the respondents.

“The CFMEU is a ‘repeat offender’ which generally appears indifferent to imposition of penalties for contraventions of the FW Act,” Justice Collier said.

“A very real question arises as to whether penalties previously imposed on individual respondents has acted as a deterrent.”

“Penalties imposed on the CFMEU appear to have no impact – indeed the obvious inference to be drawn is that the CFMEU has ignored such penalties as inconsequential,” Justice Collier said.

FWBC Nigel Hadgkiss welcomed the decision, which he said reflected the seriousness of the unlawful conduct.

“The responsibilities of permit holders when exercising right of entry are clearly set out in the Fair Work Act 2009,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

“That the CFMEU would pressure its officials to deliberately defy these provisions is frankly astounding. These actions reveal a level of contempt for the rule of law that should alarm all building industry participants.”   

Penalties

File Number: SAD 59/2015

Respondent

Penalty

David Bolton

$4,000

Michael Huddy

$2,000

Brendan Pitt

$4,000

CFMEU

$50,000

Total

$60,000

 

File Number: SAD 60/2015

Respondent

Penalty

Aaron Cartledge

$4,000

David Bolton

$4,000

CFMEU

$40,000

Total

$48,000

 

File Number: SAD 61/2015

Respondent

Penalty

Michael McDermott

$4,000

CFMEU

$20,000

Total

$24,000

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