Abstract: The social performance of resource projects has attracted greater attention and scrutiny from communities, governments and increasingly mineral and energy companies in recent times. How the costs and benefits of resource development are distributed can have an enormous influence on the success of projects and this realisation has led to a strengthening of government and corporate policy with regard to social impact assessment (SIA), social responsibility and community relations. This paper describes aspects of the legislative and policy framework for the assessment and management of the social impacts of resource projects in Australia. Australian state governments have adopted varied approaches to the assessment and management of social impacts. The paper does not attempt to provide a comprehensive review of SIA policy in Australia, nor should it be used as a guide to the jurisdictional requirements. Instead the paper highlights the leading practice initiatives that have improved outcomes for the communities and social groups impacted by projects. The paper begins with an outline of the social issues associated with resource development and an explanation of SIA and its importance. A range of case studies of initiatives and policies adopted by governments in Australia are summarised.