Master Builders say CFMMEU secretary needs to go

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MASTER Builders ACT is calling on the ACT government to fire Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) ACT secretary Jason O’Mara and his deputy Zachary Smith from their government roles after they breached work safe laws.

CFMEU ACT branch secretary Jason O’Mara.

Mr O’Mara was one of six CFMMEU officials that the ACT Federal Circuit Court penalised for breaching right of entry laws across three apartment project sites in Franklin, Harrison and Wright in 2013 and 2014. Mr Smith was also amongst the six officials fined.

During the court judgement yesterday (September 21), an ACT Federal Circuit Court judge slammed Mr O’Mara, who currently chair’s the ACT Work Health and Safety Council, a paid position which advises the Workplace Relations Minister on safety issues, for his “dangerous ignorance” after he was found in breach of site safety rules.

Mr Smith is a member of the ACT Secure Local Jobs Advisory Committee which, also advises the Workplace Minister on workplace relations matters.

Following this judgement, Master Builders ACT has written to the government calling for Mr O’Mara and Mr Smith to be removed from their ACT government-appointed board positions. 

“The chief minister should condemn the behaviour of these individuals,” says Master Builders ACT CEO Michael Hopkins after Mr O’Mara was penalised $12,000 for refusing to produce his federal entry permit at one site and failing to comply with an occupational health and safety requirement at another site. 

“It beggars belief that he would not immediately remove these individuals from the ACT Work Safety Council and Secure Local Jobs Code Advisory Board after the scathing criticism made of them by Judge Neville and Judge Katzmann. 

“The chief minister should condemn the actions of these individuals. Anything less shows he is not willing to hold them to the integrity standards that he announced on Saturday in Labor’s Policy Position Statement,” says Mr Hopkins. 

The announcement of these penalties comes only a month after the CFMMEU and three of its officials, including Mr O’Mara and Mr Smith, were penalised a total of $159,600 after the Federal Court found they engaged in unlawful picketing at a Canberra building site in May 2018.

“How is it possible that the Minister accepts advice from an individual criticised by Judge Katzmann for putting his own staff’s safety at risk when carrying out an illegal picket in 2018,” Mr Hopkins says. 

 “If Mr Smith doesn’t have the integrity to step down from this position, the Minister should remove him from this influential position. In any other jurisdiction it would be unheard of for a Minister to turn a blind eye to such behaviour.”

Judge slams ACT union secretary for his ‘dangerous ignorance’


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