Superiority of s 15AA

Mulpha Australia v CSPC [2018] NSWLEC 179

This case, about an old Sydney building, raised the meaning of ‘land’ in heritage legislation5.  The NSW interpretation provision required ‘a construction that would promote the purpose or object underlying the Act …’6.  Section 15AA was in this form until amended in 2011 to require a construction ‘that would best achieve the purpose or object’7

Does it matter?  Yes – the NSW provision allows only ‘limited choice’, where 15AA recognises a range of meanings may emerge.  In Mulpha, both views promoted purpose in different ways, and the NSW provision was ‘not called upon’.  The ‘unqualified statutory instruction’ in 15AA would have fixed this8.  

This case is from Episode 45 of interpretationNOW!


5 s 57(1)(e) of the Heritage Act 1977 (NSW).

6 s 33 of the Interpretation Act 1987 (NSW).

7 s 15AA of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901.

8 SZTAL [2017] HCA 34 at [39], Brysland & Rizalar (2018) 92 ALJ 81.