"OUR budgets reflect our moral consciousness about how we view our future for our children - and we just need to be honest about that."
This is according to Promise Neighbourhoods Institute at PolicyLink director Dr Michael McAfee, who was the keynote speaker at the opening day of the Communities for Children Conference in Launceston yesterday.
Organised by Anglicare Tasmania, the two-day conference will be addressed by a variety of speakers on children's and youth issues.
Dr McAfee, of the US, is in Australia for a series of speaking engagements.
He said Australia was creating a rod for its own back by neglecting issues and individuals, which would later suffer more and eventually cost more, to address in the future.
He said the American public school system had been underfunded for decades and more families were turning away from it, resulting in even less funding going to such institutions.
In many cases families were forced to move away from their home cities to seek cheaper living costs, because they'd priced themselves out of living there through negligence of broader society, he said.
Dr McAfee said Australia retained a greater collective consciousness about wanting to work with its community than in the US, and they were suffering for it.
He said those at the forefront of such community work, such as in health or education, and seeking more funding or recognition, had to make a strong case to be listened to.
The conference concludes today.