State significant resource projects (that is, State significant mining, petroleum production and extractive industry projects) can create both positive and negative social impacts. This guideline provides direction on assessing these impacts in the context of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act). In this guideline, social impact assessment (SIA) is the process of identifying, predicting, evaluating and developing responses to the social impacts of a proposed State significant resource project, as part of the overall EIA of that project. SIA is not a one-size-fits-all process. It needs to be proportionate and tailored to suit the project’s context and the nature and scale of its impacts. State significant resource project applicants, professionals engaged in the assessment of social impacts associated with those projects, and the wider community should use this guideline. Assessment officers in the Department of Planning and Environment will also use the guideline when reviewing SIA-related information submitted by applicants at different phases in the EIA.
The objectives of this guideline are to:
• provide a clear, consistent and rigorous framework for identifying, predicting, evaluating and responding to the social impacts of State significant resource projects, as part of the overall EIA process
• facilitate improved project planning and design through earlier identification of potential social impacts
• promote better development outcomes through a focus on minimising negative social impacts and enhancing positive social impacts
• support informed decision-making by strengthening the quality and relevance of information and analysis provided to the consent authority
• facilitate meaningful, respectful and effective community and stakeholder engagement on social impacts across each EIA phase, from scoping to post-approval
• ensure that the potential social impacts of approved projects are managed in a transparent and accountable way over the project life cycle through conditions of consent and monitoring and reporting requirements.