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Thursday, 15 May 2014
Page: 3978

Mr MARLES (Corio) (10:16): I was recently given a photograph by Vitol, the new owners of the Shell refinery, of the big smokestack at the Shell refinery, which has red and white bands going up and down the stack and the word 'Shell' written down it. It is a really important thing for me. As a child, whenever we returned from long trips away from Geelong, being able to see that stack said that we were home. It is just a chimney, but, to me, it really matters. It speaks of a whole lot of iconic features and visions that all of us have in our lives—not postcards like the opera house or the Statue of Liberty; they are more personal, more particular and more evocative, like a smell from your childhood. They define a sense of home, a sense of place and a sense of identity—like the big, bold Ford sign in Norlane, outside the Ford factory on the main road, which talks about a city that proudly uses its hands to make things and produce wonderful products; like the T&G clock on the corner of Moorabool and Ryrie streets, at which, on every half-hour, a man and his boy used to come out and bang a clock. It symbolised a father handing over responsibility to his son and urging him to continue the good work. I can remember standing on that corner as a kid, waiting for the clock to tick over to the half-hour so I could watch the two figures come out and bang the bell.

These things symbolise the places in which we live and they need to be maintained. For me, it is a real sadness that some of these features are not being maintained. The truth of the matter is that that big, bold Ford sign today is dirty, and that is a terrible thing. It speaks of an advertisement about a product and, in the same breath, a statement that you do not care—you are trying to sell something that you do not care that much about. It needs to be cleaned. And that T&G clock does not work. A clock that does not work is an advertisement of a place that is broken. When you think about that father handing over to the son and urging him to continue to do the good work, it does not sit well with a clock that does not work. So I think it is really important that in Geelong at this time we make sure that these iconic and personal features are properly maintained. I call upon the owners of the T&G building and Ford to do just that in relation to both those features, on behalf of everyone in Geelong.

While I am at it, if you look at the old photos of that corner, which is really the heart of Geelong—and I looked at one this morning from 1900—there are flagpoles on all the buildings, and they are still there today but not a single flag is flying. Wouldn't it be great if they were? I recommend all the owners of those buildings to go and visit W Libby & Son on Yarra Street, flags and pennants. I have got nothing to do with that business, but I have bought flags from there. They do a great job. And, can I just say, Vitol have assured me that the red and white stack will continue to be maintained once they take over the refinery.