Karratha’s struggling childcare services are in for a boost after an indoor play centre was identified as a possible site for an out of school hours childcare facility. At the January 31 meeting, councillors endorsed a motion to request expressions of interest for the provision of out of school hours childcare to operate alongside the existing services at the Karratha Indoor Play Centre. The facility, located at the Tambrey Village Shopping Centre, was one of three sites identified by the City of Karratha to be suitable for childcare services. It comes after childcare comparison site Care for Kids revealed last month Wickham was the ninth most expensive area for childcare services at $138 a day — a $5 increase between February and December last year. In August last year, Wickham’s only childcare centre, One Tree Community Services, increased average fees by $5 per day. A City officers’ report found as of last February there were more than 300 families waiting to get access to childcare facilities in Karratha. The report stated there were 243 children between the age of 0-5 years old in Millars Well with only one day care centre which had a capacity of 105 children. Some 589 children reside in Nickol, while 686 live in Baynton. Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the shortage of childcare places had been created by both a lack of infrastructure and inability to attract staff. It comes after the State Government announced in January a $1 million grant to attract and retain childcare workers in regional WA, with payments of up to $25,000 available for local government authorities to deliver a range of initiatives including subsidised accommodation, relocation costs, intrastate travel and training and professional development.