Canberrans continue to be slugged the highest childcare costs in the nation, new data has shown.
The latest Productivity Commission report, to be published on Tuesday, puts the growing financial burden of childcare on Canberra families into sharp focus.
The rising costs of childcare and family day care in the nation's capital came amid a spike in government spending in the sector in the past year.
ACT families were last year paying an average of $570 a week for 50 hours of childcare, some $70 above the national weekly average, according to the commission's report.
The median cost of family day care last year rose to $550 a week, up from $520 in 2018.
That was $50 higher than both the national average, and the median cost paid by families in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and WA.
For a Canberra family earning $115,000 a year, the cost of putting one child in centre-based care for 30 hours a week swallows up 18.6 per cent of their weekly disposable income - the highest percentage in the country.
When child subsidies are included, the proportion drops to 5.8 per cent, which still leads the nation.
The report showed the cost hike coincided with an increase in federal and territory government spending on childcare and preschool education.
Commonwealth recurrent expenditure on childcare services, which includes spending on staff wages, tipped $196 million in the past year, up more than 25 per cent on the previous financial year.
However, capital expenditure, which includes funds for centre upgrades, declined significantly. Just $35 million was spent last financial year, compared to $216 million in 2017-18 and $600 million in 2014-15.
The ACT government spent $8.69 million on childcare services in the past financial year, up from $6.8 million in the previous 12-month period. More than $39 million was spent on preschool, an increase of almost $2.5 million.
The commission's report included further evidence of a worrying trend in the safety of Canberra's early childhood education and care centres.
The territory's 328 nationally quality-framework approved centres reported 572 "serious incidents" in 2018-19, up from 472 in the previous financial year.
ACT early childhood education and care services also lead the country in terms of quality, with 46 per cent of services exceeding national quality standards, compared to 31 per cent nationally.ACT minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Yvette Berry
Of the 572 incidents, 443 related to an injury, trauma or illness while in care. In 70 cases, emergency services attended. A total of 314 incidents were reported at childcare centres/
The figures translate to more than 160 incidents per 100 nationally-approved centre in the ACT, which was considerably higher than the national average of 101.
Canberra has led the nation on that metric in at least the past two years.
The report did include some positive news for the ACT, which Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development Yvette Berry was keen to highlight.
More than 55 per cent of children aged five and under attended a government-approved childcare service, which was the highest proportion in the country.
"ACT early childhood education and care services also lead the country in terms of quality, with 46 per cent of services exceeding national quality standards, compared to 31 per cent nationally," Ms Berry said.
Ms Berry also spruiked the Barr government's commitment to rolling out free, universal childcare for three-year-olds.
The government will this year pay for 15 hours a week of free childcare for up to 400 young Canberrans.