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Displacement and resettlement


Why we manage displacement and resettlement

Safeguarding the interests of vulnerable people is a key priority of the Australian Government. Development activities–such as the building of economic or social infrastructure and the establishment of conservation areas–sometimes require the use of land that local communities already occupy or use. When these communities are required to move, or when their access to land is restricted, it is known as displacement.

Development has the potential to benefit everyone, but where physical or economic displacement occurs as a result of development activity it may lead to long-term hardship and impoverishment if not addressed. Resettlement is a process that helps people build new lives in a different location while mitigating the effects of displacement on their standard of living. When done well resettlement can ensure that displaced communities share the benefits of development and vulnerable groups improve their living standards.

We aim to see that:

  1. displacement and resettlement is avoided wherever possible by considering all viable alternative activities or design options
  2. adverse impacts on those affected by the development are minimised, mitigated and/or compensated where such impacts cannot be avoided
  3. the livelihoods of affected people are enhanced, or at least restored, relative to their level prior to the development activity and standards of living for displaced poor and other vulnerable groups are improved.

How we manage displacement and resettlement

Australia works with a range of partners, including partner governments and multilateral development banks, which have different roles and responsibilities.

Our approach reflects a commitment to align with the Involuntary Resettlement policies of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

Our objectives, requirements and principles are outlined in our policy Displacement and Resettlement of People in Development Activities.

For more information on issues related to displacement and resettlement, please email us

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