Criminal charges have been laid against the CFMMEU and its ACT Divisional Branch Secretary, Jason O’Mara, over alleged cartel conduct. 

“The CFMMEU and Mr O’Mara are each charged with attempting to induce suppliers of steelfixing services and scaffolding services to reach cartel contracts, arrangements or understandings containing cartel provisions in relation to services provided to builders in the ACT in 2012 to 2013,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“These charges follow a joint investigation between the ACCC and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) as part of the AFP’s role in coordinating and contributing to the Joint Police Task Force following the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption,” Mr Sims said.

The charges are being prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP).

The first mention of the charges before the ACT Magistrates Court is scheduled for 27 September 2018.

“Cartel activity is an important arm of what we deal with,” Mr Sims told reporters.

“It's, in general terms, where competitors get together to agree prices, to raise prices, or to restrict supply and have the same effect as raising prices, and that has obvious harm to consumers.”

Mr Sims said he could not give more specifics of the allegations as the matter.

“This is an extremely important matter and we must treat it with the utmost sensitivity,” he said.

“The penalties under our act … are either up to $10 million per breach, or three times the profit made, or 10 per cent of turnover.

“In terms of individuals, the maximum penalty can be up to 10 years in jail.”