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The Catholic Education Commission NSW was established by the NSW Bishops in 1974, initially to be the contract management authority with governments for the receipt of grants to be distributed to NSW Catholic schools. Since that time, the Commission's mandate has been widened to include advocacy and representation on behalf of NSW Catholic schools.

The Commission has been reviewed by the Bishops several times since 1974, leading to a widened mandate and to improved governance of the organisation. The Commission is the principal adviser to the NSW Bishops on matters concerning Catholic school education.

The Commission has been chaired by the following Bishops: