Constructing watchdog denies focusing on CFMMEU

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Action taken by the building industry watchdog led to $5.6 million in fines to the construction union in the past financial year.

The Australian Building and Construction Commission appeared before a Senate estimates hearing on Wednesday, confirming statistics from 2017/18.

Commissioner Stephen McBurney said $262,398 in underpayments from 186 employees for 32 employers had been recovered.

In the same period, court action initiated by the ABCC saw industry participants whacked with $6 million in fines, with 94 per cent of that handed to the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union.

“We don’t just go after the CFMMEU,” Mr McBurney told the hearing.

“Oh rubbish,” Labor frontbencher Doug Cameron responded.

The ABCC commissioner said he stood ready to help any building industry player with people breaking the law.

He said the CFMMEU was a respondent in 30 of the 34 cases currently before the court, with right of entry and coercion the main issues.

The ABCC conducted 47 investigations into underpayments and sham contracting arrangements in the past financial year, with 139 employers audited over wages and entitlements.

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