• The road to remote Purnululu School in the Kimberley region of WA (Google)Source: Google
A Perth building contractor has been charged over an alleged $2.9m fraud in a remote Kimberley community.
Mikele Syron

17 Dec 2020 - 11:27 AM  UPDATED 17 Dec 2020 - 11:29 AM

A 53-year-old Perth man has been charged over allegations that he defrauded Warmun, a remote Kimberley community, of around $3 million.

Craig Robert Dale was charged on Tuesday with 15 counts of gaining benefit by fraud following an investigation into conduct in 2013,

Western Australia Police alleged that Mr Dale had offered to replace a burnt building and build additional housing for staff, reportedly telling the community council to pay the funds upfront into a Trust Account.

Mr Dale allegedly told the community that the WA Department of Housing was willing to reimburse the amount it paid for the works.

Western Australian Police said in a statement that the $2.99 million was deposited into a personal account belonging to Mr Dale, and was used for personal purchases and gambling.

"The accused man did not have the authority to act on behalf of the then-Department of Housing, nor did he submit any proposals or claims directly to the agency," the statement said.

Mr Dale appeared in the Perth Magistrates Court yesterday morning and was granted bail with a $50,000 surety.

Mr Dale is next due back in court in January 2021.

Earlier this week, Warmun Communities acting chief executive, Robert Skesteris, said the missing $3 million had caused a significant financial burden for the community to overcome, with the news that Mr Dale had been charged being a welcomed relief for locals.

"It's huge. If you're aware of other Aboriginal communities of that size, funding from all sources is very tight," he said.

"To be able to plan for the future and actually meet basic requirements in the community can be very difficult. It does have a big impact."

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