Woolies opens new Bunbury meat centre

Countryman

A $31 million meat centre designed to supply lamb and beef and value added meat products to Woolworths' 84 stores across the State was officially opened in Bunbury last week.

Woolworths fresh food general manager Pat McEntee said the expansion would provide local jobs, employing an additional 70 staff to bring the Bunbury Meat Centre's total number of workers to about 230.

The Bunbury Meat Centre is attached to a beef and lamb abattoir owned and operated by V&V Walsh and together with the V&V Walsh plant the site employs about 650 people.

Woolworths has operated a meat processing centre at Bunbury since 1994 but the extension has added more than 4000 square metres to the facility.

"It includes new staff amenities and offices, a cold storage warehouse that can hold over 2000 pallets of chilled meat and new meat production facilities that consolidates Woolworths' meat processing under the one roof," Mr McEntee said.

"In addition, Woolworths has invested over $3 million in equipment that will increase production and enable a greater variety of meat and value-added products to be manufactured."

The centre was opened by WA Agriculture Terry Redman who spoke about sheep and cattle numbers and the need for there to be a sustainable supply.

He also recognised Woolworths' support of the Buy West Eat Best campaign.

Mr McEntee said Woolworths had its own cattle buyers and annually bought 60,000 head directly from WA producers that were put through the V&V Walsh plant.

About 250,000 sheep were also put through Walsh's plant last year on behalf of Woolies.

He credited Woolworths' recent decision to stock only MSA beef for delivering a spike in beef volumes, saying customers were acknowledging that their "beef had got better".

Later at the WAFarmers centenary conference, Mr McEntee said Woolworths had planned another 25 new supermarkets for WA over the next five years and the refurbishment of 30 existing stores.

He said Woolworths was "very confident" about its growth in WA because of the economy and the State Government's recent decision to allow Sunday trading in the metropolitan area.

About 80 per cent of the beef that goes into WA Woolworths stores is sourced in the State.

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