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Another CFMEU thug off to court

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CFMMEU delegate Michael Powell alleged to have hindered and obstructed ABCC inspectors

 

The ABCC has taken court action against the CFMMEU and its delegate, Michael Powell, alleging Mr Powell hindered and obstructed two female ABCC inspectors from conducting an audit of the Australian Catholic University project.

The $206 million, 13-storey Saint Teresa of Kolkata Building is a new learning and teaching space at the ACU campus on the fringe of Melbourne’s CBD.

In its statement of claim, the ABCC alleges:

  • on 5 May 2021, two of its inspectors commenced a Building Code audit of the project.
  • The inspectors were accompanied by the contractor’s project manager and national workplace relations manager while inspecting the lunchrooms and the male and female amenities for compliance with the Building Code.
  • During the audit, Mr Powell approached the group, allegedly shouting:

“what business do these f**king women have going into the male toilets and taking pictures”.

  • Mr Powell pointed towards one of the ABCC inspectors and stood one metre away from her while demanding, in a loud and aggressive voice, that she show him the contents of her phone.
  • Mr Powell said to the contractor’s managers words to the effect of:

“you’ve got no f**king right to take them into the male toilets or our sheds…don’t let them in our sheds”.

  • Concerned for their safety, the ABCC inspectors concluded their audit early and were escorted to the site’s carpark by the managers.
  • Mr Powell approached the carpark fence with two other men in CFMMEU clothing and said to them words to the effect of:

“go to the carpark entrance and we’ll get them there.”

The ABCC is alleging the CFMMEU and Mr Powell contravened s.78 of the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 (BCIIP Act) by hindering and obstructing the inspectors from exercising their compliance powers.

The maximum contravention of the BCIIP Act is $222,000 for a body corporate and $44,400 for an individual.

The ABCC is seeking a personal payment order against Mr Powell. Such an order would require Court imposed penalties to be paid personally by Mr Powell and not paid or reimbursed directly or indirectly by the CFMMEU or through crowd funding.

Since May 2008, Mr Powell has been penalised $130,200 by the Courts for 23 contraventions of workplace laws.

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