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GEOP4070 – Social Impact Assessment

2020 – Session 1, Weekday attendance, North Ryde

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any references to assessment tasks and on-campus delivery may no longer be up-to-date on this page.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts on staff and students

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff
Alison Ziller
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
40cp at 2000 level or above
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

Social impact assessment (SIA) is an important assessment tool with wide application in land use planning. This unit provides an introduction to and broad overview of SIA in urban and regional environments, and addresses both the processes needed to accomplish a diligent assessment and the resources available to inform the assessment process. Through the use of current case studies, the unit provides an insight into practical difficulties, common mistakes and ethical issues that are frequently encountered. Students will learn how to recognise and respond to these problems, apply social science research methods to impact assessment and present impact issues to non-specialist audiences.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Explain the practice and requirements of SIA in planning systems
  • ULO3: Apply knowledge and key concepts from social impact assessment to critical evaluation of planning decisions
  • ULO4: Identify and discuss ways of integrating social issues into planning discourse and planning decisions
  • ULO2: Recognise key social impact issues that occur in planning practice
  • ULO5: Research and discuss complex ideas about social change, social process and assessment of social impacts
  • ULO6: Recognise ethical issues and risks in impact assessment

Assessment Tasks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Assessment details are no longer provided here as a result of changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts on staff and students

General Assessment Information

It is a general requirement that you observe the University’s academic integrity policy and avoid plagiarism in your work.

There are four assessments for GEOP 816. The final grade is based on the total mark accumulated across all assessments. Failure to submit any single assessment task may result in failure of the unit.

Unless a special consideration request https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/forms/display/special_consideration has been submitted and approved, (a) a penalty for lateness will apply – two (2) marks out of 100 will be deducted per day for assignments submitted after the due date – and (b) no assignment will be accepted more than seven (7) days (incl. weekends) after the original submission deadline. 

Submitting your assignment:

All assignments should be submitted via Turn-it-in. 

Please note

1.  This course has three assignments.

2. Each assignment has a word limit the aim of which is to encourage concise and clear expression suited to professional situations. 

State the number of words in your assignment not including a reference list.

3.  You may include summary tables, dot points, maps and other devices to present your information succinctly, providing your dot points can always be read as part of a full sentence

4.  Ensure that your name and student number are contained in the header or footer of each page.

5.  Please number your pages

6.  Keep a copy of all your submitted assignments, unfortunately they do get lost sometimes.

7.  Use a reference list to correctly list all sources cited in your text. Note that failure to cite sources - including unpublished lecture material etc. - will be considered as plagiarism and will result in severe penalties, up to and including failure of the whole unit. If you need to include references to material not cited in your text, use a bibliography and include a brief paragraph explaining why.

Delivery and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19.

Please check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

Delivery of this course is by lecture, in class activity and learning directed by reading and preparation of assignments.

The following reading list is grouped according to topics covered each week

Week 1: Basic concepts and context

Burdge, R J, 2002, Why is social impact assessment the orphan of the assessment process? Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 20(1): 3-9.

Interorganizational Committee on Guidelines and Principles for Social Impact Assessment 2003, US Principles and guidelines, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, September 21:3, pp 231-250, http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/reg_svcs/social%20guid&pri.pdf

Ziller A, The community is not a place and why it matters, case study Green Square, 2004, Urban Policy and Research, 22,4, 465-479

Week 2: Distributional equity 

Wilkinson Richard and Kate Pickett, 2012, The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, London, Penguin. 

See also brief descriptions of the major impacts of inequality on society on The Equality Trust website: https://www.equalitytrust.org.uk/about-inequality/impacts

Charlesworth Simon J, Paul Gilfillan and Richard Wilkinson, 2004, Living Inferiority, British Medical Bulletin 69: 49-60, http://bmb.oxfordjournals.org/content/69/1/49.full?sid=87b77ac6-1a05-48dc-a568-6f064143534e

Week 3: The social as a spatial issue

O’Donnell J 2018, The Suburbanisation of Homelessness in Australia, Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy, 11:2, 333-354

BOCSAR, Apprehended violence orders: https://www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/Pages/bocsar_pages/Apprehended-Violence-Orders-.aspx  

Taylor E, A Butt and M Amati, 2017, Making the Blood Broil: Conflicts over imagined rurality in Peri-Urban Australia, Australian Planner, 32:1. 85-102, DOI: 10.1080/02697459.2015.1028252

Vidyattama Y and R Tanton, 2019, Mapping economic disadvantage in New South Wales, 24 Oct, NATSEM and NCOSS

Week 4: Steps and stages. Localities and catchments

Planning Institute of Australia: Social Impact Assessment Policy Position Statement: http://www.planning.org.au/policy/policy-platform

Recape Hotel Group Pty Ltd v Council of the City of Ryde [2016] NSWLEC 1497 https://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/decision/5812cbece4b0e71e17f54f21

UNSW AND NSW Department of Health, Health Impact Assessment: A practical guide: http://hiaconnect.edu.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Health_Impact_Assessment_A_Practical_Guide.pdf

Ziller, A 2013, The question of locality: Case study - development application for a bulk discount liquor outlet at East Nowra, NSW, Local Government Law Journal, 18, 196-207 – this document is on iLearn

Week 5: Local Aboriginal Land Councils

Bruce Pascoe, Dark Emu, chapters 1-4 This book is available as an e-book from Macquarie Library http://ebookcentral.proquest.com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/lib/MQU/detail.action?docID=1675076 Miers S 2018, The effect of land use planning decisions on the landholdings and viability of NSW Local Aboriginal Land Councils, Henry Halloran Trust, U Sydney, November: http://sydney.edu.au/halloran/publications/Miers_EffectOfLandUse.pdf

Porter L 2017, Indigenous People and the Miserable Failure of Australian Planning, Planning Practice and Research, published online February 2017: https://doi.org/10.1080/02697459.2017.1286885

Week 6: Licensed premises

Peter Miller and Alex Wodak, Fact Check: can you change a violent drinking culture by changing how people drink? The Conversation, 10 Mar 2015: http://theconversation.com/factcheck-can-you-change-a-violent-drinking-culture-by-changing-how-people-drink-38426

Livingston, Michael, The social gradient of alcohol availability in Victoria, Australia, 2012, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 36, 1, pp41-47

Livingston M., Wilkinson C., Room R., 2015, Evidence Check, Community Impact of Liquor Licences, Sax Institute, https://www.saxinstitute.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Community-impact-of-liquor-licences-1.pdf

Miller, Peter, Alcohol and violence: a complex issue in search of leadership, The Conversation, 14 Jan 2014: https://theconversation.com/alcohol-and-violence-a-complex-issue-in-search-of-leadership-21886 This short summary also contains links to key background reports.

Nepal S, K Kypri, T Tekelab, RK Hodder, J Attia, T Bagade, T Chikritzhs and P Miller, 2019, Effects of extensions and restrictions in alcohol trading hours on the incidence of assault and unintentional injury: Systematic review, Drug and Alcohol Review 37,4, May 527-536.

Ziller A, B Rosen and S Walsh, 2015, “Alcohol is a planning issue”, Local Government Law Journal 20, 168-183 - this document is on iLearn

Ziller, Alison 2018, Online retail of alcohol, some dilemmas for professional SIA practice, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 36:5, 383-389, DOI: 10.1080/14615517.2018.1452368

Week 7: Proponent led methodological failures

Esteves, A M, Franks D & Vanclay F 2012, Social impact assessment: the state of the art, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 30:1, 34-42  

There will be a handout on this topic in the class.

Week 8:  SIA and resource development

Campbell R, J Lindqvist, B Browne, T Swann and Matt Grudnoff, 2017, Dark side of the boom The Australia Institute, 15 April: https://www.tai.org.au/content/dark-side-boom

Davis, R and D M. Franks. 2014. “Costs of Company-Community Conflict in the Extractive Sector.” Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative Report No. 66. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Kennedy School: https://www.csrm.uq.edu.au/media/docs/603/Costs_of_Conflict_Davis-Franks.pdf

Dittman CK, A Henriquez and N Roxburgh 2016, When a Non-resident Worker is a Non-resident Parent: Investigating the Family Impact of Fly-In, Fly-Out Work Practices in Australia Journal of Child and Family Studies, Vol.25(9), pp.2778-2796

Haslam PA and N A Tanimoune, 2015, The Determinants of Social Conflict in the Latin American Mining Sector: New Evidence with Quantitative Data. World Development, 78, 410-419 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2015.10.020  

Hanna, P, Vanclay, F, Langdon, E.J. & Arts, J. 2016a. Conceptualizing social protest and the significance of protest action to large projects. Extractive Industries & Society 3(1), 217-239. 

Hossain D, D Gorman D, B Chapelle, W Mann, R Saal R and G Penton, 2013, Impact of the mining industry on the mental health of landholders and rural communities in southwest Queensland, Australasian Psychiatry, 21:32-37

Ogge M 2015, Be careful what you wish for, The Australia Institute, November: https://www.tai.org.au/sites/default/files/Be%20careful%20what%20you%20wish%20for%20FINAL_0.pdf

Week 10: Consultation and procedural fairness

Leonardsen D, 2007, Planning of Mega Events: Experiences and Lessons, Planning Theory and Practice, 8:1, 11-30

Nicholson, Alistair and others, 2012, Listening but not hearing: a response to the NTER Stronger Futures Consultations June to August 2011, Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning Research Institute, 9 March: most easily accessed via http://apo.org.au/node/28591 Read the Executive Summary.

NSW FACS 2011, Aboriginal consultation guide: http://www.community.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/322228/aboriginal_consultation_guide.pdf

Ombudsman NSW, 2012, Natural Justice/Procedural Fairness, Public Agency Fact Sheet, 14, March:  http://posa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/FS_PS14_NaturalJustice_Nov10.pdf  

Preston J. 2015, The adequacy of the law in satisfying society’s expectations, International Bar Association Annual Conference, Tokyo, October 2014: http://www.lec.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/Speeches%20and%20Papers/PrestonCJ/PrestonCJThe%20adequacy%20of%20the%20law221014.pdf 

Taylor E 2015, Fast food planning conflicts in Victoria 1969-2012: is every unhappy family restaurant unhappy in its own way? Australian Planner, 52.2 114-126

Week 11: Ethics

Esteves, A M, Franks D & Vanclay F 2012, Social impact assessment: the state of the art, Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 30:1, 34-42  

Julie Walton, 2015, The ways of the world: Implications of political donations for the integrity of planning systems, Henry Halloran Trust, University of Sydney:  https://sydney.edu.au/content/dam/corporate/documents/henry-halloran-trust/the-ways-of-the-world.pdf

Unit Schedule

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The unit schedule/topics and any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19. Please consult iLearn for latest details, and check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

Please note that the topics listed in this outline may be subject to change



Lecture topic & integrated class discussion

28 Feb


Foundation issues for SIA   

Overview of the course and assignment requirements  1. Defining the social Basic concepts and the role of language;

2. Context: legislation, recent history of social issues in planning in NSW, intersection with local government planning; the status of the social.

6 March

Foundation issues for SIA   

3. Conceptual base: the big picture - public health

13  March

Methodological issues for SIA  

1. The social is a spatial issue – distributions, segregations and the role of planning.

20 March

Methodological issues for SIA  

2. ‘steps and stages’ of SIA; what the guidelines say and what they don’t say/ kinds of SIA/policy pitfalls

3. Localities, catchments, notifications and scope

27 March

SIA and public policy   

1. Local Aboriginal Land Councils

3 April 

SIA and public policy 

2. Licensed premises 

10 April 

SIA and public policy 

3. Proponent led methodological failures 

13–26 April 



1 May

SIA and public policy 

4. SIA and resource extraction  

8 May

SIA and outcomes

Field trip 

16 May

SIA and its practice

1. Consultation and procedural fairness

23 May

SIA and its practice

2. The unexpected & unwelcome: ethics 

30  May

Student preparation time

for Assignment 3

3 June

Methodological issues for SIA

Making the case: In-class presentation of Assignment 3

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​


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