National Australia Bank chief executive Cameron Clyne says taxpayer funds in bailing out some industries could be better spent investing in sectors such as technology that will provide jobs of the future.
The banking boss cautioned over Australian talking their economy into a gloom, pointing out it is still outperforming many developed economies around the world on most measures.
Mr Clyne’s comments came as figures released Wednesday show Australian consumers were increasingly worried about their jobs and the economic outlook.
Westpac and the Melbourne Institute's consumer confidence survey fell to its lowest levels since May last year and is now 10 per cent lower than its post-election peak reached in November.
Despite a string announcements pointing to big name job losses in traditional manufacturing areas, Mr Clyne said Australian economy was in the process of transition.
‘‘The economy is in transition,’’ Mr Clyne told an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce lunch in Melbourne. ‘‘What we are going through now is not unusual’’.
‘‘There are over 1 million people employed in industries that did not exist 20 years ago,’’ he added.
Even so with ongoing debate about taxpayer funds being used to support struggling industries from auto making to fruit processor SPC Ardmona, Mr Clyne said Australians have to be prepared to accept they will have to let some industries go.
‘‘If you look at successful economies around the word then you need to recognise that some companies due to a whole range of factors will not succeed,’’ he said.
‘‘If you have $30 million, $50 million or $100 million I’d be saying wouldn’t it be far better invested into expanding opportunities for people to grow jobs of the future - that’s is how you help an economy in transition and that is how you pay a dividend in the future than necessarily propping up an industry that in 12 months may be back looking for a handout,’’ he said.
Mr Clyne pointed to the fall in numbers among information technology graduates across Australia over the past decade’’.
‘‘I think that’s absolutely scandalous’’.