Canberra has the most expensive childcare in the country, the childcare workers' union United Voice says.
Issuing its 2011-12 childcare fees report yesterday, the union said fees had increased 11 per cent in the past year, leaping to more than $70 a day.
The report showed that in the 12 months to April, childcare fees rose from an average of $63.21 to $70.29 a day.
Overall, the ACT topped the list for the most expensive childcare at $82.43 a day - up 9 per cent.
And a parents group says childcare fees of more than $70 a day are putting Australian families under more pressure than ever.
Parent and co-founder of website The Bub Hub, Brad Lauder, said his forums were filled with parents venting their frustrations about Australia's childcare system.
''What I can say unequivocally is that the pressures on parents are as great as they have ever been,'' Mr Lauder said.
''How are families supposed to keep up?
''It's not just the cost of childcare, it's actually finding it. In some places, they have to camp out overnight to get into a kindergarten or preschool.''
United Voice assistant national secretary Sue Lines said while fees rose, 180 teachers a week were leaving the sector because of low wages and poor working conditions.
''Families need affordable, quality early childhood education and care with a professional workforce to deliver it,'' she said.
''This massive fee increase is more evidence the childcare funding system is failing and is placing children, parents and educators under severe strain.
''The funding model introduced by the Howard government is broken. It's time for a new funding system because without renewed government intervention the crisis can only worsen.''
Mr Lauder said the federal government needed to do more, by either increasing its 50 per cent childcare rebate, capped at $7500 a year, or creating new childcare places to relieve pressure on the system.
''The whole reason to live is to procreate - raising kids is the entire purpose of living for most people,'' he said.
''It should be a higher priority in Australia than it currently is.''
Minister for Childcare Kate Ellis said the government was providing record levels of financial support, investing $22.3 billion in early childhood education and care over the next four years.
''When fees do increase the government shoulders half of the increase,'' she said in a statement.
''As a result of our record investments in childcare affordability, the proportion of family income being spent on childcare has decreased from 13 per cent in 2004 to 7.5 per cent in 2011,'' she said. AAP