A re-elected Morrison Government will legislate to double the maximum penalties that courts can apply under the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Act 2016 for serious, deliberate and repeated breaches of the law by unions in the construction industry.

Last week the High Court of Australia ruled unanimously against the CFMMEU in a case about the union’s lawlessness in the construction sector brought by the industry watchdog, the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

In a damning indictment of the CFMMEU, the High Court found that the union treats penalties for serious breaches of the law as just a “cost of doing business”. The Court noted that the union is a “serial offender” who is “well-resourced, having more than sufficient means to pay any penalty that the court might have been disposed to impose”.

The increased penalties under the Act would only cover the most serious offences, including freedom of association, unlawful picketing, unlawful industrial action and coercion.

The new maximum penalties that a court could apply would be up to $444,000 for a body corporate (union) and up to $88,800 for individuals.

Minister for Industrial Relations, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, said that “the increase in penalties will act as a deterrent for those thuggish unions who see the current fines as simply a cost of doing business.”

85 per cent of the CFMMEU Construction and General divisions’ officials have either been fined for breaching industrial laws, or are currently before the courts.

All Australians pay the price for the bullying, intimidation and lawlessness of the CFMMEU.

“Time and again we have seen shocking behaviour from CFMMEU officials. Mr Albanese and Labor are fully aware of this behaviour and have done nothing to stop it. Instead they are promising to abolish the ABCC, the strong cop on the beat ensuring that workers in the construction sector are able to go to work each day without the fear of being harassed, intimidated or subjected to violence,” Minister Cash said.

Before the Coalition Government restored the ABCC, Master Builders Australia estimated building costs were up to 30 per cent higher, due to the amount of working days lost to industrial action on building sites.

“Mr Albanese will hand over this critical industry to the CFMMEU because he is too weak to stand up to them. Australians can’t trust our economic recovery to Mr Albanese. “Minister Cash said.