A Productivity Commission report shows childcare costs jumped across the country with the biggest increases in WA, the ACT and the NT.
Childcare costs have risen at almost double the rate of inflation over the past year, with parents now shelling out about $364 a week.
The Productivity Commission’s 2014 report on government services shows that more than a million children aged under 12 were in childcare in the March quarter for 2013.
This was 6.3 per cent more than in the previous year.
The median cost of centre-based long day care jumped by five per cent to $364 for 50 hours of care per week across the country.
The biggest increases were in Western Australia, the ACT and the NT, with day care in the ACT the most expensive in the country.
For family day care, the cost of a 50-hour week jumped three per cent to $339.
The biggest hikes were recorded in the ACT and the NT, with the ACT again the most expensive.
Over the past five years, costs have increased the most in Tasmania, with a 22 per cent hike in long day care fees and a 32 per cent jump for family day care.
Major cities and inner regional areas are more expensive than other regions.
The report shows fewer than one in five childcare centres across the country were given a quality rating in the 18 months since a new national framework began.
Of those which had been rated by June 30, 2013, more than half met or exceeded the national standards.
But 44 per cent of childcare centres were still working towards meeting these standards.
The new national framework includes requirements for staff to have minimum qualifications.
In 2013, more than four in five childcare staff across the nation either held formal qualifications or had three or more years of experience.
This was an improvement on the previous year.
Victorian and Tasmania centres had the highest proportion of staff at these standards, with NSW, Queensland and South Australia close behind.
The ACT – where care is the most expensive – had the lowest proportion of staff meeting the standard with just over three in five.