Social Impact Assessment Guideline released

September 13, 2017

The Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) has released a Social Impact Assessment Guideline (the Guideline) for State significant mining, petroleum production, and extractive industry developments.
The NSW Minerals Council has had ongoing input into earlier drafts of the Guideline. While there have been some changes in language, which likely reflect responses to stakeholder submissions, concepts of what is a social impact and how to identify those impacted are similar to earlier drafts of the Guideline.
The main and concerning change is Part 3 of the Guideline, which now refers to a ‘scoping process’.  This involves understanding the project's area of social influence and identifying potential social impacts.  This is a key proposal of the EIA Improvement Project. The EIA Improvement Project is made up of nine draft guidelines which are unlikely to be finalised until mid 2018. However projects that:
  • Receive Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEARs) after the release of the Guideline
  • Have SEARs and are expected to submit a development application in six months or more and are re-issued SEARs requiring compliance with the Guideline
will be required to undertake scoping in accordance with the draft Scoping and Environmental Impact Statement Guideline (Scoping Guideline), including scoping all of the impacts of the project in accordance with the scoping worksheet and Scoping Guideline as it is not possible to apply the scoping worksheet to only social impacts. We have raised this issue with the DPE who have committed to provide clarification on this issue.
If this affects your project please contact Claire Doherty or Evelyn Subagio
For more information and to access the SIA Guideline click here.

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