The CFMMEU’s former South Australian organiser Mark Gava has been penalised $6,000 and his union $68,000 following Mr Gava breaching right of entry laws at the Flinders Medical Centre project in Adelaide in December 2016.
In imposing the penalty the Federal Court found Mr Gava unlawfully misrepresented his right to access the project site and meet with workers while not having a valid right of entry permit.
Justice White in his judgment stated:
“Mr Gava is an experienced organiser who has held an entry permit for many years. He was not a person who was new to the job in which case inexperience may have been a mitigating factor. Mr Gava set out to mislead Hansen Yunken.”
“… Mr Gava knew that his entry permit had expired but was willing to see if he could get away with unauthorised entry. In order to do so, he was prepared, dishonestly, to misrepresent the position to Yuncken. In the events which happened, he did not "get away with it" and when challenged, he chose to lie.”
“Neither Mr Gava nor the CFMMEU has made any expression of regret or contrition.
Nor has the CFMMEU provided the Court with any evidence of steps it has taken with the view to ensuring that neither it nor its officials contravene s 503 again.”
“The CFMMEU's record of contraventions of industrial legislation is appalling. Since 2000, it has been found to have contravened industrial legislation on more than 140 separate occasions;…”
“On any view, this is a deplorable record of contraventions. It must be taken into account in assessing penalties in the present case.”
Australian Building and Construction Commissioner Stephen McBurney said the breach was yet another example of a CFMMEU official dishonestly and deliberately engaging in unlawful conduct.
“Having a valid right of entry permit provides the holder with the right to enter a worksite for legitimate purposes. Mr Gava was prepared to claim that he had that right, even though he knew his permit had expired,” Mr McBurney said.
“Mr Gava chose to ignore the law and as a consequence he, and the CFMMEU, have been ordered to pay significant penalties to the Commonwealth.”
The penalties in this case increase the total penalties imposed on the CFMMEU and its officials to $810,190 this financial year.