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Proponents of projects may be required to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) under either the:

  • State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971, or
  • Environmental Protection Act 1994.

If stipulated in the terms of reference, the EIS must include a social impact assessment.

The social impact assessment identifies the social impacts directly related to the project and proposes strategies to capitalise on social opportunities and to avoid, manage, mitigate or offset the predicted detrimental project impacts.

The social impact assessment covers:

  • community and stakeholder engagement
  • workforce management
  • housing and accommodation
  • local business and industry content
  • health and community wellbeing.

Assessment process

During the assessment, the project proponent is required to engage with communities, local government and state government agencies

The assessment involves the collection of qualitative and quantitative data. This data enables the existing, or baseline, social conditions to be measured and provides a basis for measuring future impacts.

Once the impacts are identified, the proponent consults with impacted communities and government to develop impact management strategies.

Proponents are then required to implement, monitor, review and report on their impact management strategies.

Download guideline

Social impact assessment guideline (PDF icon 228 KB)

Policy change

The social impact assessment guideline reflects a change in government policy - a move towards a risk-based, outcomes-focused approach as opposed to detailed, prescriptive regulation.

If the Coordinator-General's report on the EIS is well advanced or completed for a coordinated project, the project proponent may choose to:

  • continue with their current approach to social impact assessment and mitigation, or
  • notify the Coordinator-General, in writing, of their intent to adopt the new approach outlined in the SIA guidelines.

For more details, see Section 9 transitional arrangements in the Social Impact Assessment guideline.