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NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment
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A new guideline to assess the social impacts of major projects

The new Social Impact Assessment Guideline requires all State significant projects to have a clear and consistent approach to assessing social impacts. This new Guideline builds on the previous Guideline that applied to State significant resource projects.  


From October 2021, all new State significant projects will need to prepare a social impact assessment (SIA). This will help to better understand and manage the impacts of State significant projects on people. The SIA guideline provides a framework to identify, predict and evaluate likely social impacts and propose responses to them. 


A standardised approach will support communities and developers 

The 2021 SIA Guideline aims to:

  • build higher levels of community understanding of projects 
  • help proponents to understand what is required to meet the department’s expectations
  • give stakeholders and the community confidence that their concerns and perspectives are being considered early in the assessment
  • reduce project risks and costs related to unplanned or reactive management of social impacts
  • create better proponent-community relations and more socially sustainable outcomes
  • streamline assessments by reducing departmental requests for more information; and
  • better integrate the SIA and Environmental Impact Assessment. 


View the 2021 SIA Guideline


To help you navigate the Guideline, we have prepared a Technical Supplement and SIA Scoping Worksheet


The 2021 SIA Guideline will commence on 1 October 2021, meaning the Guideline will be included in requirements issued for all State significant projects from that time.  


More information on the transitional arrangements and application of the 2021 SIA Guideline is available at the Planning Portal


Social Impact Assessments: The Value Add


Development of the Guideline 

The SIA Guideline and Technical Supplement have been updated in consideration of feedback received during the public exhibition period, and in response to the regulatory and policy changes of the Rapid Assessment Framework. 


The Rapid Assessment Framework (RAF) for State significant projects introduces new streamlined processes for the assessment of major projects comes and comes into effect at the same time as the SIA Guideline (1 October 2021). The RAF includes a number of guidance documents including, State Significant Development Guidelines, State Significant Infrastructure Guidelines, Undertaking Engagement Guidelines and Cumulative Impact Assessment Guidelines which can be accessed at the Rapid Assessment Framework page.


Individual submissions received during public exhibition between 30 October and 27 November 2020, and a summary submissions report are available, via our Planning Portal, along with all exhibited draft documents. 


More information

For more information about SIA, you can:

Page last updated: 14/07/2021