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Incidents at childcare centres on the rise

The number of serious incidents at childcare centres has increased along with the financial cost to parents.

Data released by the Productivity Commission on Tuesday shows 16,185 serious incidents at childcare facilities across the country in the 2018/19 financial year, up from 15,435 in 2017/18.

Serious incidents include when a child suffers an injury, trauma or illness, when emergency services attend the centre, and when a child is locked in or out, taken away or missing.

In NSW, emergency services attended centres 616 times in 2018/19, up from 471 the year before.

At Victorian childcare centres, children were locked in or out, taken away or were unaccounted for nearly 400 times, an increase of about 100 times from the previous period.

However, the report warns the rate of serious incidents reflects the reporting practices of approved childcare providers, "which can vary".

In the Northern Territory, emergency services were called to childcare centres 16 times in 2018 to 2019, four times more than the year before.

The report says two children died while in care in NSW, with no deaths in other states. That figure is half that of the year before, when there were two deaths in Queensland and one each in Victoria and SA.

The median weekly cost for 50 hours of centre-based day care was $495 in 2018/19.

This figure has increased over several years, up from $423 in 2015.

The cost of childcare is higher in major cities and inner regional areas compared to outer regional areas and remote parts of Australia.

© AAP 2020