Tony Abbott announces biggest child-care revolution

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott has announced the biggest child-care revolution in the past two decades where parents will be asked to deliver their verdicts on how the child care system can be made more flexible, affordable and accessible.

The Productivity Commission Inquiry into Child Care and Early Childhood Learning will identify how the current system can be improved to make it more responsive to the needs of parents.

Mr Abbott outlined the inquiries terms of reference on Sunday (Nov 17) at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting he is attending in Sri Lanka.

"We want to ensure that Australia has a system that provides a safe, nurturing environment for children, but which also meets the working needs of families," he said.

"Our child care system should be responsive to the needs of today's families and today's economy, not the five-day 9am-5pm working week of last century.

"The Productivity Commission will conduct public hearings and invite submissions as part of the inquiry process where the community and childcare sector will be able to put forward their ideas to the inquiry."

Mr Abbott said the inquiry was the first public examination of child care and early years learning since the 1990s.

"Australian families need a system that is not only affordable, but ensures people can work flexible hours whilst knowing that their children are receiving high quality child care," he said.

"The government wants Australian families to have more choices when it comes to the decisions they make about the care of their children.

"Parents need more choices as they move in and out of different types of child care due to their changing personal, economic and working circumstances.

"We want a child care system that is more capable of responding to the dynamic and individual needs of parents."

The Commission will report back to the Federal Government before the end of October 2014.