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Social impact assessment

Social impact assessment (SIA) is a process for the identification, analysis, assessment, management and monitoring of the potential social impacts of a project, both positive and negative. The social impacts of a project are the direct and indirect impacts that affect people and their communities during all stages of the project lifecycle.

An SIA is required for all projects subject to an environmental impact statement (EIS) process under either the:

  • State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 (SDPWO Act), or
  • Environmental Protection Act 1994 (EP Act).

Assessment process

The phases of the SIA process are outlined in the SIA process overview and explained in detail in the social impact assessment guideline (March 2018) ( 307.0 KB).

In accordance with the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Act 2017 (SSRC Act) and SIA Guideline, the SIA must address 5 key matters:

  • community and stakeholder engagement
  • workforce management
  • housing and accommodation
  • local business and industry procurement
  • health and community well-being.

The SIA guideline was developed by the Coordinator-General in accordance with section 9(4) of the SSRC Act. It details what must be included in an SIA and covers the identification and assessment of social impacts, as well as their management and monitoring.

The SIA guideline is a statutory instrument for resource projects and a non-statutory instrument for non-resource projects where they are subject to an EIS process under the SDPWO Act or EP Act.

The SIA report, prepared by the project owners as part of the project’s EIS, will inform the Coordinator-General’s evaluation of the social impacts of a project and the decision whether or not to allow the project to proceed.

Undertaking social impact assessment

The Coordinator-General has developed supplementary material ( 1MB) to assist in the preparation of the SIA as part of an EIS process. The document is designed for proponents and practitioners, however can assist communities to understand the process and expectations of SIA.

In preparing the SIA, the project owner is required to undertake community and stakeholder engagement across all matters to:

  • understand who is likely to be impacted and how
  • understand the affected communities
  • identify and assess potential social impacts
  • develop management measures to mitigate adverse impacts and enhance benefits
  • support monitoring and reporting.

The outcomes of the SIA are to be documented in an SIA report. This report will be released for public comment with the project’s EIS.

Read more about strong and sustainable resource communities.

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Last updated: 01 Dec 2023