Infant deaths soaring in regional areas

INFANT death rates are soaring in regional Queensland and northern New South Wales, with between five and seven children aged five or younger dying for every 1000 births.

Broken down into metropolitan, rural and regional areas, the data shows the Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay, northern NSW and central Queensland are among the nation's regional hotspots for infant death.

A report from the National Health Performance Authority released today showed each region had between 4.3 and 6.1 babies aged one year old or younger die for every 1000 born.

That figure rose in all areas to between five and 7.3 deaths among those aged between one and five years old in each Medicare Local region.

While the infant death rate nationally has fallen considerably in recent years, Australia's rate was still three times higher than similar developed nations around the world.

It showed Australia's infant death rate was ranked 14th out of all 30 OECD countries.

The figures were based on infant death rates between 2009 and 2012, across 60 Medicare Local regions.