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Warning for Aust in Trump win: Ai Group

AAP logoAAP 10/11/2016 Lilly Vitorovich

Donald Trump's surprise win in the US Presidential election is a warning signal that economic transition must not leave parts of the community behind, business lobby organisation the Australian Industry Group says.

Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said there are some positive signs from Mr Trump's victory, including commitments to increase infrastructure spending and stimulate the US economy with tax cuts and pro-growth policies.

However Mr Willox pointed to the widely unexpected win - driven by deep support for Mr Trump among working class Americans who have lost jobs amid offshoring and globalisation - as a warning for Australia.

"Perhaps the most important take-outs relate to broader questions about the management of economic transition and the importance of building a more inclusive approach to economic and policy change," he said.

Mr Willox said the US election result shows that you can't "airily wave goodbye" to big parts of industry without expecting political repercussions.

It also showed that long periods of flat wages and rising income inequality would generate disenchantment with political and economic systems.

"While Australia has a far stronger social safety net and more actively embraces income redistribution than is the case in the US, nevertheless there are significant parallels here and there are important messages for how we in Australia approach our own economic transition," he said.

Australia is bracing for the end to local car manufacturing and has recently witnessed the announced shutdown of a major coal-fired power plant in Victoria.

Mr Willox acknowledged that big changes are taking place in Australia's industrial structure, work habits and in the way business is done, and that government and business sector have responsibilities to bring the community along.

"People are hurting and are not convinced that the economy and the political system are delivering for them," he said.

"They have concerns about their jobs and opportunities for the future and they do not like being taken for granted. Put simply a lot of people are not confident that the trickle-down argument works for them."

Mr Willox said the end of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) was "disappointing rather than disastrous".

Australia already has a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US, which isn't under threat. Plus, Australia has several FTAs with many of the other countries interested in joining the TPP, he said.

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