The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court has supported an EPA recommendation that Boral Resources (Vic) Pty Ltd fund two environmental projects worth $50,000 each, after a spill that sent a black oily substance into wetlands near Williamstown.

EPA charged the company with Pollution of Waters and Causing an Environmental Hazard after the spill, which affected Paisley Drain, Paisley Challis wetlands and Jawbone Marine reserve in November 2019.

The company entered a plea of guilty on each charge. The court recorded no conviction and agreed to EPA’s recommendation that an order to fund environmental projects would be appropriate in place of a fine.

The two projects involve an investigation of Aboriginal cultural values associated with the area, and protection and revegetation work for the Paisley Challis wetlands.

The company must make the two $50,000 payments within 30 days, and then provide proof of payment to EPA and the court within another seven days.

The proposal for the Paisley Challis Wetlands Eco-Cultural Values Project, by the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, describes an investigation of the Aboriginal cultural values of Bunurong People in relation to the land and waters surrounding the Paisley Challis wetlands. 

The proposal from the Friends of Williamstown Wetlands Inc. in partnership with Hobsons Bay City Council, includes habitat fencing to keep traffic and litter out of the wetlands, and indigenous revegetation, and weed removal.

EPA and the company put forward an agreed proposal to the court for Boral to contribute $80,000 in total to the two environmental projects. After consideration of the projects, the magistrate considered it appropriate that Boral contribute a total of $100,000.

Boral operates an asphalt depot and storage facility at 91 Champion Road, Williamstown, where there is a tank farm, storing various types of hydrocarbons used in the asphalting process.

The Paisley Challis wetlands consists of a series of ponds that filter out urban pollutants from stormwater and provide bird habitat among grasslands, coastal saltmarsh and mangroves. The wetlands are immediately west of the Jawbone Flora and Fauna reserve, and discharge directly into Port Phillip Bay.

EPA officers investigated reports of an oily substance in Paisley Drain, with an asphalt-like odour. They traced it to a section of stormwater pipe on Park Crescent connecting to the Boral premises.  Boral conducted a clean up of the pollution in accordance with a verbal direction from EPA and two subsequent regulatory notices specifying the work to be undertaken.


Section 67AC(2)(c) of the Environment Protection Act 1970, allows a magistrate to order the funding of environmental projects in place of (or in addition to) a conventional penalty.

The Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation website is at

The Friends of Williamstown Wetlands website is at

Reviewed 2 December 2021