Members may recall that following the Victorian Building Industry Disputes Panel’s contentious majority site allowance determination in relation to the Westgate Tunnel project being issued on 20 July, an affected subcontractor lodged an application for review by the Fair Work Commission (FWC).

The CFMMEU subsequently challenged the application, arguing that the FWC did not have jurisdiction to deal with the matter; or if it did, that its role was limited to reviewing the Disputes Panel determination itself, rather than hearing the site allowance claim anew (i.e. de novo).

On 16 November, the FWC handed down its decision finding against the CFMMEU’s jurisdictional arguments, determining that the FWC had both jurisdiction to deal with the matter, and that it would be dealt with de novo.

The FWC’s decision reflects Master Builders’ clear and unambiguous understanding that the intention has always been for Dispute Panel decisions (including on site allowance) to be reviewable by FWC on a de novo basis.

Subject to whether or not the CFMMEU elects to appeal the FWC decision, the matter will now progress to the substantive issue of the site allowance claim itself.

Master Builders will continue to keep members advised of any developments.