n Australia a social impact assessment (SIA) is generally required prior to the approval of a mineral resource extraction or processing projects as a part of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. In recent years there has been increased attention on the adequacy of the SIA process applied in major project assessment. Most applications have focused on the impact identification process with little attempt given to the community negotiating power over how impacts will be addressed. The impact assessment tends to occur at a single point in time, with no subsequent re-evaluation or ongoing social impact management and monitoring process. The assessments rarely specify how responsibilities for impacts on communities may be apportioned between project proponents and government, and have been inadequate in dealing with cumulative project impacts. In Queensland, concern about these shortfalls have led to the release of the Sustainable Resource Communities Policy 2008 and requirements for social impact management plans (SIMP) to be developed for each resource development in the State.
In this paper a ‘pressure-state-response’ approach to impact assessment is used to develop an ‘impact-response-monitoring-evaluation’ (IRME) framework that can be applied to ongoing evaluation and monitoring of social impacts. The framework is applied to coal resource developments in the northern Bowen Basin in Queensland to identify core requirements in a SIMP. The IRME framework is flexible enough to be implemented at various spatial and time scales, for the wellbeing of the local and regional mining and non-mining communities in Australia. The framework can be further examined in other mine developments and could be integrated with the existing mining or environmental protection acts.