Former chair of Kempsey Aboriginal health corporation pleads guilty

Mr Tony Gray, the former chair of the Durri Aboriginal Corporation Medical Service (Durri) in Kempsey today pleaded guilty in the Port Macquarie Local Court to charges brought following a joint investigation between the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations and the New South Wales Police.

Mr Gray was charged under section 192E(1)(b) of the New South Wales Crimes Act for dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage of $4,406.55 from Durri.

Durri is registered under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006. It is a large charitable corporation providing essential primary and secondary health services to the Aboriginal people of the Kempsey region. Mr Gray was the chairperson of Durri from 2010 until 28 November 2011.

In October 2010 Mr Gray claimed that his personal vehicle had been damaged after hitting a kangaroo while he was driving to a Durri meeting. He claimed and was paid $4,406.55 by Durri to repair his vehicle. In fact, Mr Gray’s vehicle had not been involved in an accident. Mr Gray made the claim to pay for unrelated repairs to his vehicle’s engine.

The fraudulent claim was discovered by Durri’s external auditor and confirmed by an examination of Durri’s books by the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations in August 2011. The Registrar then undertook a joint investigation with the Port Macquarie detectives of the New South Wales Police who laid the charges against Mr Gray.

‘Directors, and particularly chairpersons, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations, have an enormous amount of trust placed in them by members of the corporation and the community more generally,’ said the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Anthony Beven. ‘Where there is evidence of that trust being breached, directors will be held to account.’

Magistrate Thomas Hodgson adjourned the matter until 9 December 2013 for sentencing.

Mr Beven thanked the New South Wales Police for their assistance.

Media contact

Patricia Gibson
(02) 6146 4743
ORIC MR1314-10
14 October 2013