Buurabalayji Thalanyji Aboriginal Corporation CEO’s alleged misconduct revealed in WA Parliament

The alleged exploits of a Pilbara Prescribed Body Corporate’s (PBC) CEO have been exposed in WA Parliament after a member outlined the preliminary findings of a special administrator’s report and the extravagant spending of the corporation’s CEO.

Vince Catania, Member for North West Central, told Parliament on Thursday that in the past two years alone, millions of Buurabalayji Thalanyji Aboriginal Corporation’s (BTAC) money had been squandered on legal fees, flights and accommodation.

After the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations (ORIC) placed BTAC under special administration in January, special administrator, Peter Saunders, released his preliminary report highlighting what Catania called the “extreme squandering of Indigenous corporation money”.

Of what has been recorded in the past two years, over $3 million was spent on legal fees alone, over $1 million on flights, and over $1 million on accommodation and meals.

Catania said BTAC’s CEO, Matthew Slack, had spent lavishly on corporate credit cards, including stays at Sydney’s Shangri-La Hotel presidential suite, lingerie, restaurants and potentially even strip clubs.

He alleged Slack was being “propped up by a board of puppet directors” and that renowned Perth lawyer, Martin Bennett, was backing him.

Catania said members of BTAC had been oppressed by the CEO and that ORIC neglected to act and protect the corporation’s members despite multiple complaints being made as early as 2018.

Slack’s resume, of which there have been multiple reports of falsification, was also brought to the Parliament’s attention.

Catania outlined that the universities Slack claimed to have went to and graduated from held no record of him having been enrolled there.

He also mentioned the security clearances that appear on the cover of the BTAC CEO’s resume, including “top secret” defence clearance and “secret” police clearance.

Minister for Tourism; Racing and Gaming; Small Business; Defence Issues; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests, Paul Papalia – who served in the military for 26 years – said he also had concerns over the claims Slack has made about his military career.

Political donations were also raised, with Catania saying there have been reports of BTAC – a registered charity – donating nearly $60,000 to the WA Labor Party.

Photos of Slack with Premier Mark McGowan, Bill Shorten and other Labor members were also shown to the Parliament, while Catania read out information from these meetings which were advertised on BTAC’s social media.

Catania called for action on the matter, saying it should be referred to the police and investigated.

By Hannah Cross

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