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Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Page: 4015

Fair Work Ombudsman

(Question No. 1856)


Senator Abetz asked the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, upon notice, on 18 May 2012:

With reference to the legal case between the Fair Work Ombudsman and Wegra Investments Pty Ltd, Heinz Wegener and Paula Wegener:

(1)   What were the total legal costs incurred by the Fair Work Ombudsman in bringing this action.

Detailed separately, what were the total legal costs incurred:

   (a) internally; and

   (b) through the provision of any external legal advice.

(2)   Can a breakdown be provided of the costs associated with officers preparing the case.

(3)   Did this matter go straight to a hearing; if so, was an attempt made to mediate the issue; if not, why not.


Senator Ludwig: The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1)   The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) does not record the specific hours worked by Fair Work Inspectors or internal lawyers on individual files. The total costs associated with this matter therefore cannot be provided.

(2)   The total cost to date of external legal advice obtained in relation to this matter is $67,431.62.

(3)   Refer to question 1.

(4)   Neither party sought formal court mediation throughout the legal proceedings. This was due to the extensive and cooperative consultations that took place between the parties in establishing agreed contraventions. These consultations enabled the parties to avoid the need for a liability hearing. The matter therefore was able to proceed directly to a penalty hearing.