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 PDF icon (150 KB) and explained in detail in the social impact assessment guideline. PDF icon (800 KB)

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.

The SIA report 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.

In preparing the SIA, the project owner is required to undertake community and stakeholder engagement 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.

Social impact assessment

The SIA guideline was developed by the Coordinator-General in accordance with section 9(4) of the Strong and Sustainable Resource Communities Act 2017 (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 all projects identified as large resource projects under the SSRC Act.

Read more about strong and sustainable resource communities.

It is also a non-statutory guideline for non-resource projects subject to an EIS process under either the State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 or the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

Find out more