State-of-the-art Regional Cold Store expansion officially opened in Warwick

John Dee opening committee
Lauren Ellis and Aaron at John Dee
Plaque unveiling at John Dee
David Littleproud at John Dee

Australia’s oldest single-family owned meat processor, John Dee, has seen their cold storage capability skyrocket with the official opening of their new expansion in Warwick.

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia and Federal Member for Maranoa, Honourable David Littleproud MP, along with Mrs Charis Mullen MP, Assistant Minister for Treasury and the Mayor of Southern Downs Regional Council (SDRC), Cr Vic Pennisi, were all on hand to unveil the commemorative plaque at the site.

The expansion, delivered by Wiley, was made possible via funding from the Australian Government’s Building Better Regions Fund and the Queensland Government’s Jobs and Regional Growth Fund.

Federal Member for Maranoa David Littleproud said the funding, delivered under Round 1 of the highly successful Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF), is delivering the services and infrastructure the community deserves.

“We are backing these projects so local people have the facilities for the future, while creating jobs to boost our economic recovery,” Mr Littleproud said.

Assistant Minister for Treasury, Mrs Mullen, said the Queensland Government is proud to support a nationally significant regional business with its expansion plans that will help position it for its next 80 years of operations and growth.

“The beef industry is one of the mainstays of the state’s economy and through our investment programs, we’re supporting the industry to make the most of its growth opportunities and create more jobs for Queenslanders,” she said.


State-of-the-art technology

The expansion includes the installation of a Regional Cold Store and state-of-the-art Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) technology. It is set to reduce operational costs, expand storage capacity and increase product sorting capabilities.

The ASRS component was delivered in partnership with leading automation and materials handling systems supplier, Dematic.

The expansion project was delivered in late 2021 and is part of a $25m staged expansion of the facility. It is expected to create 155 new full-time jobs and 138 indirect new full-time jobs, in addition to supporting existing jobs on-site.

Southern Downs Regional Council Mayor Cr Vic Pennisi said he was pleased that the region had been the focus of significant government and commercial investment.

“It’s great to see nation-building infrastructure that delivers food security for our country, provides clean fresh safe food to the world and secures local jobs that keeps our economy strong.”

“It is a great credit to the Hart family, who have invested so much in the region and have the confidence and foresight to continue to invest in our future.


Future-proofing John Dee and the region

Wiley’s Chief Executive Officer, Robert Barron said the company was delighted to deliver this expansion.

“This has come about in partnership with local suppliers and stakeholders and will see significant long-term value created for John Dee.”

“With our extensive experience delivering meat processing facilities, we were able to bring industry-leading technology to the project that makes this cold store one of the best in Australia.”

John Dee CEO Warren Stiff said that today’s opening celebrates the conclusion of a project that was 5 years in the making.

“From feasibility modelling, design, grant application, finance, construction and commissioning, a hardworking team from within John Dee and external specialists worked together to bring together what we see today.”

“This state-of-the-art facility allows us to store, retrieve and consign Australia’s best beef brands direct from John Dee to the World’s most discerning customers. The project also allows us to significantly expand our processing numbers and provide further employment opportunities on the Southern Downs long into the future.”

“We thank all of those involved at all levels of the project over the past 5 years.”

Read more about the project here.