ABCC fails to investigate death threats against CFMEU delegate & family

Published: 22 Jun 2020

The national construction regulator, the ABCC, has failed to investigate death threats made against a South Australian CFMEU delegate and his family in the latest shocking example of the regulator’s refusal to police rogue builders.

The CFMEU delegate at the Watpac site in Adelaide had death threats made against him, his partner and their then unborn child after he raised a series of safety concerns in 2019.

An independent report commissioned by Watpac’s national management directly implicated a former senior SA manager in orchestrating the threats and named a second former company employee as a co-conspirator. The report slams the ABCC and SA police for refusing to investigate the threats.

The builder, Watpac, has accepted the report’s findings that the death threats were made by the two named employees. Watpac is a subsidiary of international construction giant, Besix.

CFMEU National Construction Secretary, Dave Noonan, said it is a scandal that the ABCC and SA police failed to investigate the matter.

“The ABCC is a failed regulator and exists only to attack unions and undermine workers’ rights,” said Dave Noonan.

“It is outrageous that an ordinary worker who takes on the role of union delegate to help ensure safety in the workplace has been targeted in this way. It is disgusting that his partner and their unborn child were threatened as well.”

"The ABCC's refusal to investigate and their declaration that this serious matter falls outside their jurisdiction just demonstrates yet again how they sweep illegal behaviour by employers under the carpet. The ABCC's conduct is a corruption of public policy and process and a betrayal of the key principle of equality before the law." 

“The independent report into this matter is comprehensive and damning and goes into forensic detail linking threatening phone calls and letters to the Watpac SA office.”

“The union strongly suspected the involvement of managers at Watpac at the time of the original threats as the only way the caller could have discovered the phone number of the delegate and his partner was by accessing internal company documents where she is listed as an emergency contact.”

“The report’s findings were accepted by Watpac’s national management, and the people allegedly involved are no longer employed by the company.”

“Despite the serious nature of the threats and the clear evidence of illegal behaviour, both the SA police and the ABCC failed to investigate.”

“We have a regulator that prosecutes unions for trivial matters while turning a blind eye to death threats bosses make against workers and their families. It is a disgrace.”