Criminal cartel charges laid against CFMMEU and its ACT branch secretary

16 August 2018

Criminal charges have been laid against the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) and its ACT Divisional Branch Secretary, Jason O’Mara, in relation to 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.

The Competition and Consumer Act requires any trial of such offences to proceed by way of indictment in the Federal Court of Australia or a state or territory Supreme Court. 

The ACCC is unable to comment further as this is a criminal matter now before the Court.

Reporting conduct of concern in the construction industry

The ACCC has recently set up an anonymous reporting portal where members of the public can report and communicate anonymously with an ACCC investigator about anticompetitive practices in the construction sector. The portal can be accessed at www.accc.gov.au/CCUreports  

Applications for cartel immunity can be made by calling the ACCC Immunity Hotline on (02) 9230 3894 or by emailing cartelimmunity@accc.gov.au.

Notes to editors

Steelfixing services refer to the installation and fixing of reinforcement steel on building sites, including in concrete slabs. Scaffolding services include the erection and dismantling of scaffolding on building sites.

The ACCC investigates cartel conduct, manages the cartel immunity policy and process, takes civil proceedings in the Federal Court in respect of alleged cartel conduct, and refers serious cartel conduct to the CDPP for consideration for prosecution. The CDPP is responsible for prosecuting criminal cartel offences, in accordance with the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth. 

More general information about cartel conduct is available at Cartels

Release number: 
156/18
ACCC Infocentre: 

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Media enquiries: 
Media team - 1300 138 917

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