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Gunner confident Trump win won't hurt NT

AAP logoAAP 10/11/2016 Lucy Hughes Jones

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner insists there's no need to panic over future US defence spending in the wake of Donald Trump's victory in the presidential election.

As Mr Trump prepares to enter the White House in January, there are concerns for the Territory economy's reliance on military investment as the Inpex LNG Project winds down.

During his campaign Mr Trump called on allies with US military deployments to contribute more to costs and there are fears he'll disengage from the south Pacific.

This jeopardises Darwin's American marine contingent and the $2.1 billion joint infrastructure funding commitment that comes with it.

1250 US troops have just finished a six-month rotation in Darwin, and Mr Gunner still expects that number to double to 2500 by 2020 as planned.

"I'm very confident we're not going to be impacted in that space. I would expect the Americans to honour that contract," Mr Gunner said on Thursday.

"We're seeking clarity and certainty... but right now I don't think anybody should be panicking."

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said after his first telephone conversation with the president-elect, Mr Trump agreed on the importance of the US military presence to the security of the Asia-Pacific region.

But he refused to be drawn over whether Trump planned to continue to increase the US troop buildup.

"When he's discussed foreign policy he's talked of retreating back to America," Mr Gunner said.

"(But) there's also a congress who haven't made clear their intention in this space.

"Let's be positive about what has now been a significant change in the world."

The Trump victory also casts a shadow on the Trans Pacific Partnership, and he's threatened to slap a 45 per cent tariff on Chinese imports.

Mr Gunner, who just returned from a business mission to China, said the election result presents an opportunity to strengthen economic ties with Australia's largest trading partner.

"If America and China got into a trade war, I think that makes the Territory a much more valuable prospect," he said.

"Anything that drives China towards investment in Australia is positive."

Mr Gunner invited Mr Trump to the Top End to experience the benefits of multiculturalism, offering to give him crocodile insurance.

"I have often objected to some of his rhetoric. The Territory is proof there is a better way of living together," Mr Gunner said.

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