Australia's construction union and two of its officials have been collectively fined more than $270,000 for breaching right-of-entry laws over a regional Victorian project, adding to an already hefty bill for the union.
The penalties are the latest in a string of judicial reprimands for the CFMMEU spanning recent years, which total $15.6 million and more than $400,000 this financial year.
The union was fined $245,000 in the Federal Court in Melbourne on Tuesday for the breaches while officials Nigel Davies and Alex Tadic were fined $19,000 and $7500, respectively.
The penalties related to failure to provide entry notice as required at the site of the Bendigo Theatre construction project during July and August, 2014 and the use of abusive language towards the site representative.
Justice Richard Tracey found Mr Davies contravened workplace laws by not providing entry notice to the site as required, not presenting himself to the site office and not signing the visitor’s book.
He also refused a lawful request by a site representative to show his entry permit, which he refused and responded with foul language. He resisted a further request to leave the site, saying: “Why are you following me? Just go away.”
The judge found Mr Tadic breached workplace laws by acting in a loud, rude, aggressive and abusive manner and using foul language towards the site representative for three to five minutes.
The case was brought by the Australian Building and Construction Commission.
Under the Fair Work Act 2009, union officials who hold valid right-of-entry permits can access worksites if they comply with certain requirements.
Tuesday’s outcome followed damning comments from Federal Court justice Natalie Charlesworth last month aimed at the union.
“The CFMMEU’s history of non-compliance is properly described as reprehensible,” she said when imposing fines of more than $115,000 on the CFMMEU and three of its officials for unlawfully entering a South Australian worksite.