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Amazon unveils first Australian warehouse, starts hiring spree

Australia, Amazon's first warehouse is here, and it'll soon be filled with "hundreds of thousands of products" to feed your online shopping addiction.

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It's official. Amazon has arrived in Australia, and it's putting down roots.

The US company has officially unveiled the location of its first ever local warehouse and started hiring "hundreds" of new staff to get it up and running.

The 24,000 square metre fulfilment centre is located in Dandenong South in Victoria, and will be home to hundreds of new staff including operations managers, pickers, packers, systems technicians and HR specialists. Amazon says it will begin hiring for these roles "immediately."

It's a major step for the establishment of Amazon in Australia, which until now has only had local operations for its Amazon Web Services and Kindle businesses.

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An Amazon employee fulfils an order inside the company's Manhattan warehouse in the US. 

Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

But now, Amazon proper is here. Not just enterprise-level website hosting or downloadable e-books. This is the Amazon that regular consumers will be able to use on a daily basis, and a business that has the potential to reshape online shopping and customer price expectations across the country.

Amazon confirmed its Australian launch back in April, and now, this warehouse is the first concrete step in that expansion (quite literally). 

"This new fulfilment centre will stock hundreds of thousands of products which will be available for delivery to customers across Australia when we launch our retail offering," said Robert Bruce, Amazon's director of Australian operations. "We will be focusing on offering our Australian customers low prices on a great selection of products and can't wait to get started."

Amazon is not the first US retailer to disrupt the Australian landscape with a new concept. American discount powerhouse Costco opened its doors in Australia in 2009, shaking up big box retail with low prices, huge pack sizes and a unique membership model that left many Aussies rethinking their weekly shop -- your trolley looks very different when you can buy diamond rings and bulk ham in one transaction.

But Costco is a 40-year-old company, and the future of retail is digital. If Amazon's US distribution centres are anything to go by, we can expect a massive operations streamlined by automation. Amazon's warehouses are typified by endless rows of stock, robots picking up orders soon after they're clicked through online and quick delivery -- perhaps even by drone.  

Whether it's the massive disruption heralded by many, or simply a new way of shopping for countless people looking for convenience, Australians can expect a new chapter in the way they shop.

As Amazon's new Australia boss says, "This is just the start."

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