Your Town with Cass – Karratha WA

In this month’s Your Town with Cass column, Move To More blogger and Eugowra local Cassie Gates, chats with Mayor Cr Daniel Scott about his life in the growing town of Karratha in Western Australia’s north. It is not often you hear the words Mayor, own a brewery and I had a meeting with PM all mentioned in the same conversation!

What’s your Karratha story Daniel?

I was born in Port Headland and spent my junior years growing up in the beautiful Pilbara region of Dampier. My family then moved to Perth, and my High School years were spent living in the city. And in 2010, I returned up north, along with my wife, to raise our family.  Through my work as a distributor for Neverfail Bottled Water, I met many people and businesses throughout the community. I listened to their connection to Karratha and their aspirations for the region. The passion I have for this community and its people encouraged me to want to do more. So, in 2015, I put my hand up for local government. I was successfully elected and have been there ever since! Now, I am the Mayor of the City of Karratha.

Brewing my own beer has been a long-time dream and passion of mine, so in 2017, I decided to leave my job as a distributor and start North West Brewing Co. The opportunity was there, and I grabbed it! We are the first and only brewery in town!

What is life REALLY like in Karratha?

Karratha is essentially a family town. The average median age is 32 years old; it is a very young town. Sport is massive here! With a population of around 24,000, on a Saturday morning, our sporting ovals will have about 1200 kids down there playing soccer, or over at the Basketball courts, there will be 1300 kids playing there. Gymnastics is also really popular, and there are two dance schools. We are a very active and energetic community.

Our beautiful subtropical/arid weather makes it great for being outside and enjoying it. Not to mention, we are surrounded by incredible nature, both on the ocean and on land!

Karratha is known for being an industrial town with all the mining projects and the development of further mineral industries, but I feel the town is ‘coming of age’, and the lifestyle and amenities in town are just as important. The community is close-knit, and from a recent survey conducted by the Council with the people of Karratha, residents said it was a great place to live!

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What jobs are available in the region?

Over the next five years, we expect over $37 billion worth of projects to be undertaken. By mid-next year, we expect 12,000 people to arrive to begin work on some of these projects. This work includes an oil and gas project by Woodside Energy that is currently making headlines. Perdaman is also building a urea plant set to produce 2 million tonnes of fertilizer-grade urea annually. Urea is also added to fuel to keep emissions down and allow trucks to conform to the strict transport environmental guidelines, so this work is critical. This project is a $4.5 billion project. Rio Tinto is also significantly refurbishing its plant here in Karratha, a $1 billion project.

Of course, this kind of growth also has knock-on effects, with many of the services and businesses in town having to grow to accommodate the workers coming to town to do the work. For example, hospitals, schools, and grocery stores all have to grow to accommodate and supply a growing population.

There is a huge opportunity for tourism in our area, but it has yet to be possible due to the incredible amount of industry and work underway here. We are a relatively young town—only 56 years old! 

It can’t be all work and no play, what do you do for fun on the weekend?

I don’t do a lot, my job and young family keep me busy! At the weekend, we usually have sports with the kids. My son and I are keen fishermen, so we will go fishing. A lot of people are into fishing or boating, especially as we have the Dampier Archipelago nearby with 42 islands. It is heaven on earth! It is a natural marine playground with the most incredible range of aquatic wildlife.

Inland, we have Murujuga National Park, which is home to one of the largest, densest, and most diverse collections of indigenous rock art engravings in the world! We are looking to get a World Heritage listing. Camping is another popular pastime around Karratha, with many gorges and stunning locations.

Your Town with Cass - Karratha WA - Image 2 

Is there a selection of schools for families to choose from?

We have seven primary schools in Karratha, including pre-primary (pre-school). There are two High Schools with another in the pipeline. A new public $50 million High School in Roebourne is being built right now, which will service the city’s eastern corridor.

The Pilbara University Centre was established several years ago, with staff and facilities to support tertiary students. Remarkably, 80 students graduated from the Centre last year with midwifery qualifications! The Council is working to find larger premises for the Centre due to the increased number of students choosing to study tertiary education.

We also have the North Regional TAFE, which provides much-needed technical trades-based education. This campus provides essential training to tradespeople employed in the mining, construction, and logistics industries, which make up the Pilbara workforce.

Your Town with Cass - Karratha WA - Image 3


Are there many transport options to get to Karratha?

Karratha Airport is the second busiest regional airport in the country! One thousand four hundred people are flying into this airport daily. All the major carriers have planes flying here, so connectivity is good. There are a couple of carriers making local connections. A new one, Aviair, does what is called the ‘milk run’ and stops at Perth, Geraldton, Karratha, Port Headland, and Broome. However, prices are high at the moment because of economic activity here. We are speaking with the airlines to increase the supply of seats, especially with the increase in people moving here and the demand for workers.


What is the housing situation like in the region?

With the expected intake of people coming to Karratha, more houses will need to be built—twelve hundred to be exact! At the moment, there is a 1.5% vacancy rate. The Council is working to find the balance, prepare for this, and ensure the community is looked after during this growth. We have enough land to roll out the number of houses we need.


What about health care, can you get in to see a doctor?

Yes and no. In the last decade, a new Hospital has been built. Unfortunately, only minor surgeries can be performed, and people do need to travel for major surgeries. I am working with the regional health service to grow the hospital’s services.

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Here’s your time to pitch! If you had to give someone one reason to move to Karratha, what would it be?

Jobs! We have enough jobs for every unemployed person in the country! There are so many opportunities for career progression at an accelerated pace.

The opportunity, particularly for young people, is enormous!

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