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Queensland Wire

In Qld Wire the Court referred to competition in the context of the Act as being a means to an end. Chief Justice French explains (French 2004):

Competition is not so much a goal in itself as a means to an end. What Mason CJ and Wilson J said of s 46 in the Queensland Wire case could be applied to all of the provisions of the Act designed to protect competition:

‘… the object … is to protect the interests of consumers, the operation of the section being predicated on the assumption that competition is a means to that end.’

... The Hilmer Committee said that competition policy ‘seeks to facilitate effective competition to promote efficiency and economic growth while accommodating situations where competition does not achieve efficiency or conflicts with other social objectives’. The protection of consumers as a group was seen as an area distinct from competition policy despite its acknowledgment ‘that both policies benefit consumers and that some consumer protection provisions improve the efficiency of markets’ [p XVI and fn 3]. The Dawson Committee, focussing upon Pt IV of the Act, acknowledged that competition is not an end in itself but ‘an important means whereby an economy can achieve economic efficiency’. This it linked to the ultimate outcome of sustaining ‘economic welfare’ [p 33]. (French 2004 at para 7)