Families in Tom Price are set to have more options when it comes to caring for their little ones after Rio Tinto and the Shire of Ashburton announced a new childcare centre for the town.

The proposed facility would have capacity for 96 children and is projected to be open in 2021, providing both day care and after-school care facilities.

Rio Tinto today announced its commitment to funding the project, with its contribution set to represent a substantial share of the project’s construction costs.

Greater Tom Price operations general manager Jamie Robinson said the company was proud to contribute towards the development of the facility.

“Child care is a critical service for the community here in Tom Price,” he said.

“The development of this new, modern centre will enhance the town’s ability to attract and retain families, while also increasing local job opportunities.”

The design phase of the project is proposed to begin shortly, with construction works forecast to begin in mid-2020.

Shire of Ashburton president Kerry White said the new facility would be a positive feature in attracting more families to live in Tom Price.

“It will also assist parents who are looking to re-enter the workforce or take on new career opportunities, which is currently difficult due to limited child- minding resources,” she said.

Mr Robinson said Rio Tinto had acknowledged the Shire’s dedication towards the project. “This sustainable investment is another great example of what government and industry can achieve together through partnership,” he said.

As part of the next step in the project, Rio Tinto and the Shire will begin discussions on the terms of a binding funding agreement to support the commitment.

The new Tom Price childcare centre would be delivered as part of the Community Infrastructure and Services Partnership between the Shire and Rio.

The partnership aims to improve the liveability of Tom Price, Paraburdoo and Pannawonica through the delivery of new and upgraded community infrastructure, services, events and programs.