Woolworths yesterday opened its expanded state-of-the-art Bunbury Meat Centre in Western Australia.
The centre represents a $31 million investment by Woolworths in meeting the growing demands of WA retail customers for quality beef and lamb cuts and value-added products.
General manager of fresh food, Pat McEntee, said the expansion would provide local jobs while also consolidating Woolworths’ position as WA’s favourite butchers.
The Bunbury Meat Centre is attached to the V&V Walsh beef and lamb abattoir supplying Woolworths’ processing requirements in the west. Having a meat processing and value-adding facility alongside a dual species abattoir makes the Bunbury Meat Centre a unique facility in Australia.
Woolworths has employed a further 70 staff to man the expanded site, bringing the centre’s total number of employees to more than 230. Together with V&V Walsh’s meatworks staff, the combined site now employs about 650 people, making it one of the biggest employers in the Bunbury and South West WA region.
The extension has added more than 4000 square metres of floor area to the current facility and includes new staff amenities and offices, a cold storage warehouse with capacity to hold more than 2000 pallets of chilled meat and a new meat production facility that consolidates Woolworths’ meat processing in the west under one roof.
“In addition, Woolworths has invested more than $3 million in equipment that will increase production and enable a greater variety of meat and value-added products to be manufactured,” Mr McEntee said.
MAP capacity for 110 SKUs
The new facility embraces the latest technology in equipment and refrigeration, delivering world-class cold-chain practices. It includes Modified Atmosphere Packaging capacity for more than 110 SKUs, the installation of MHP packaging equipment, racking and automated conveyor systems.
Further equipment installations cater for large-scale centralised sausage manufacture, corned meat production and other value-added lines.
“It guarantees the quality of meat products delivered to our 84 supermarkets throughout the State of WA,” Mr McEntee said.
“The investment is further testament to Woolworths’ support of local Western Australian producers and suppliers and demonstrates our long-term commitment to the ‘Buy West Eat Best’ program.”
The facility was opened yesterday by WA’s minister for Agriculture, Terry Redman, and was also attended by Mike Norton, president of the Western Australian Farmers Federation.
Mr Redman said the expanded Bunbury Meat Centre was a welcome development for the local economy and the WA beef and lamb industries.
“Investment and innovation in the WA livestock industry is critical for it to grow and prosper,” he said.
“The new centre shows great signs of corporate confidence in the domestic market for beef and lamb. This modern new processing and packaging centre is a unique facility which will enable direct distribution to retail outlets across the State.”
Construction was a joint project involving Perkins (Bunbury based) and W Fairweather and Sons. Woolworths set the design principles with consultants and technical input from staff at the centre.