11 May 2017Court penalises CFMEU leaders in $277,000 Perth Children’s Hospital decision

The CFMEU and seven of its officials, including senior union leaders Dave Noonan (National Secretary), Mick Buchan (WA State Secretary) and Joe McDonald (then WA Assistant State Secretary), have been penalised for unlawful conduct which halted work at the $1.2 billion Perth Children’s Hospital project.                                                                                                  

Penalties totalling $277,000 were imposed for unlawful blockades of the hospital site on four separate days between January and July 2013.

On one occasion, around 400 people blockaded the main entrance, preventing a large concrete pour involving 45 trucks. The CFMEU officials organised, incited, and controlled the protest because the head contractor did not agree to a demand for a “whole-of-site EBA” (Enterprise Bargaining Agreement).

In a further incident the union organised a blockade which prevented 200 workers from entering the site.   

In a third and separate blockade, CFMEU official Tawa Harris admitted to attempting to prevent workers from entering the site by physical restraint.

In handing down penalties today, Justice Barker made specific reference to Mr Buchan and Mr McDonald as the “driving forces” behind one of the blockades, saying they “clearly provided endorsements to the unlawful action and gave it what might be called a misplaced legitimacy in the minds of the CFMEU members”.

Justice Barker also took into account the “prior extensive history of contraventions on the part of the CFMEU” in determining the penalties imposed.

ABCC Commissioner Nigel Hadgkiss said the case is yet another example of the CFMEU acting unlawfully to promote its industrial agenda.

“It is unacceptable for the CFMEU to have blockaded a critical new hospital for children,” Mr Hadgkiss said.

“Once again the CFMEU has chosen to use its industrial muscle in preference to complying with the law.”

Penalties

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union & Ors (WAD16/2014)

Respondent Penalty
CFMEU $88,500
Joseph McDonald $6,500
Mick Buchan $5,000
Steve McCann $2,500
Brad Upton $3,500
Pat Heathcote $2,500
Tawa Harris $5,500
Total $114,000

 

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union & Ors (WAD95/2014)

Respondent Penalty
CFMEU $44,000
Joseph McDonald $6,500
Mick Buchan $5,000
Total $55,500

 

Australian Building and Construction Commissioner v Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union & Ors (WAD135/2014)

Respondent Penalty
CFMEU $88,000
David Noonan $2,500
Joseph McDonald $7,500
Mick Buchan $6,000
Tawa Harris $3,500
Total $107,500

 

Totals 

Total CFMEU $220,500
Total CFMEU officials $56,500
Combined total $277,000

 

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