The Coalition Government will consult on proposed changes to right of entry rules that aim to modernise right of entry permits and stop militant union officials improperly accessing Australia’s construction sites.
Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, said the current paper-based right of entry permits are impractical, easy to damage, outdated and vulnerable to abuse.
"The building and construction sector is our second largest contributor to GDP and third largest employer, so it is critical to ensure that it is not held hostage by people doing the wrong thing," Minister O'Dwyer said.
"These changes are sensible, practical reforms that will ensure right of entry permits and claims are not misused by those seeking to do the wrong thing.
"Worryingly, we have seen examples of people misrepresenting their identity or falsely claiming to be authorised permit holders – these changes will help protect against those who do the wrong thing.”
For example, in October 2018 the Federal Court fined a South Australian CFMMEU official $6,000 and the union $68,000 for falsely claiming he held a valid right of entry permit.
Under the Government’s proposed changes to the Fair Work Regulations 2009, the Fair Work Commission would be given the ability to issue right of entry permits in an ID card format that must include a photo of the authorised permit holder and any relevant permit conditions. Right of entry notice forms would also be updated to clearly state the rules that all parties must follow when right of entry is being exercised.
Changes to right of entry notice forms will also address compliance issues with right of entry laws. In 2017-18, the Australian Building and Construction Commission made 72 investigations into alleged contraventions of right of entry laws by both permit holders and occupiers.
"These common sense changes will make it easier for permit holders to carry their permits and exercise right of entry, while those on worksites will be able to appropriately verify the identity of a permit holder on their premises,” Minister O’Dwyer concluded.
Following consultation, the Government intends recommending to the Governor-General that he make the proposed changes to the Fair Work Regulations 2009.