Single purpose rarely 100%

Christian Community v Minister [2024] NSWCA 1

Private schools are funded where they are not ‘operated for profit’8.  The school here was run for profit9 and the minister sought to recover funding.  It was argued that the minister could only recover if a prior declaration had been made that the school ‘is’ being ‘operated for profit’10.  This was rejected. 

The school said the legislative purpose was to provide financial assistance, while the minister said it was to provide assistance to non-profit schools.  The court noted that legislation ‘rarely pursues a single purpose at all costs’11.  The balance was reflected by the non-profit condition of funding.  No prior declaration was needed and recovery was allowed.

This principle is from Episode 107 of interpretation NOW!


8 s 83F of the Education Act 1990 (NSW).

9 This was uncontested as a matter of fact.

10 s 83J of the Education Act 1990 (NSW).

11 [49], Carr [2007] HCA 47 [5] quoted, Stewart [2024] NSWCA 59 [70].