Community expectations and outcomes of Social Impact Assessment in the Australian resources sector
AffiliationOffice for Environmental Programs
MetadataShow full item record
Document TypeMasters Coursework thesis
Access StatusOnly available to University of Melbourne staff and students, login required
© 2017 Oliver Hill
Development in the resources industry has long been the antithesis to positive outcomes of social progress and community engagement. With the rise of leading practice guidelines to Social Impact Assessment (SIA), institutions are beginning to embrace methods of social risk mitigation and demonstrate awareness of communities historically marginalised by the need for economic growth. Although significant progress has been made, these improvements do not always emerge at mining’s operational level leading to contradictions between negotiated expectations and provided opportunities. To investigate whether claimed operations of leading practice were true this study evaluated internationally recurring factors of leading practice against the Community-Based Agreement Making (CBAM) approach taken in Weipa, Queensland. The leading practice approach of CBAM was identified for the purposes of research as an applied model of social justice theory, measured through standards of Boundaries, Involvement, Fairness, and Futures. Interviews conducted through appreciative inquiry were guided using standards of social justice to identify participants’ unmet expectations and suggested opportunities. This was followed by qualitative analysis of interviews using NVivo 11 to code participants’ valuation of on-site social issues and guide transcript analysis. Results found international cases often incorporated leading practice recommendations during negotiations with diminished capability to address social issues over time. This was supported by field study findings that communities’ original expectations were not being met, leading to disillusionment with the projects Indigenous Land Use Agreement. Three areas of opportunity for improvement were identified for the Weipa study: 1. Opportunities unequal to expectations, 2. Barriers to understanding, and 3. Capacity building for livelihoods, which were found to centre in a need for community empowerment. It is suggested that to address these opportunities and add to the field of SIA, future research should focus on issues of: a) community capacity building and the role of regional political organisations, and b) embedding cultural values and recognition within all levels of industry operational management.
Keywordssocial; impact; management; practice; resources
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