Amazon expands fulfilment warehouse footprint to Brisbane

It will be the company's fourth fulfilment warehouse in Australia.

Amazon expands fulfilment warehouse footprint to Brisbane

Global e-commerce giant Amazon will expand its fulfilment centre footprint in Australia with plans to open one in Brisbane.

It will be the fourth Australian fulfilment warehouse for Amazon.

It opened its first Australian fulfilment centre in Melbourne in December 2017, followed by centres in Sydney and Perth in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

"Brisbane is a key strategic location to meet increasing customer demand in Queensland and we're pleased that this significant investment will create job opportunities to support the local economy, benefit customers, and local small to medium-sized businesses who will be able to access Amazon's logistics capabilities to reach customers across the country," Amazon Australia director of operations Craig Fuller said.

Property group Goodman has been charged with helping Amazon develop the new warehouse, including undertaking infrastructure work and upgrading existing adjoining buildings to meet the company's specific requirements.

Amazon currently has a local team of more 2,500 employees across amazon.com.au, Amazon Web Services, Kindle, Audible, Alexa, and Prime Video.

See also: Robots are changing the face of retail in 2020 (TechRepublic)

A recent report by the ABC identified how employees of Amazon Australia are constantly being monitored and timed to fulfil orders, with one describing the working conditions as being so extreme it made them feel "dehumanised". 

"I feel like they resent the fact that I'm not a robot and that I'm made of flesh and bone," the person identified as Amazonian 1 said. 

Meanwhile, David Gallagher, who is on workers' compensation, was denied unpaid leave twice over a course of a month by Amazon, as reported by ZDNet's sister publication, CNET. He was only granted leave once CNET had contacted Amazon.

To keep up with recent demands due to COVID-19, Amazon announced in March that it was hiring 100,000 new full and part-time roles for its fulfilment centres and delivery network across the US.

In addition, the giant e-commerce retailer said it was investing over $350 million globally to increase staff pay for employees and partners who are in fulfilment centres, transportation operations, stores, or those making home deliveries. As a result, staff received an extra $2 per hour in the US, £2 per hour in the UK, and approximately €2 per hour in many EU countries. The pay increases were paid through until the end of April. 

Last year, the company dismissed claims that its warehouses would be fully automated any time soon.

Amazon robotics fulfilment director Scott Anderson told reporters that there was a "misconception" that the e-commerce giant would be able to run fully robotic warehouses soon.

"In the current form, the technology is very limited," Anderson said. "The technology is very far from the fully automated workstation that we would need."

Updated 11 June, 2020 5:22pm (AEST): Additional details about employee treatment added.

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