The Bundaberg Region welcomed 57 new citizens from around the world at a special ceremony today as part of Australian Citizenship Day 2019.
The new citizens are from 21 countries including Pakistan, Germany, Vietnam, Turkey and India.
Married couple Rod and Pam Lacy were among those to become Aussies. They had a throng of supporters behind them at the ceremony to celebrate their citizenship.
The duo, originally from Cheshire in England, moved to Australia 15 years ago to be closer to their son.
“Our son was over here in Mundubbera and we looked all along the coastline and found Coral Cove originally and then found Bargara,” Pam said.
The couple said today's ceremony was an emotional event.
“It means a tremendous amount, I could feel the support in the room. To be part of such a community … that's why I was in tears,” Pam said.
“We are Aussie Aussie Aussies now, it means a lot,” Rod added.
With a great climate and plenty to do, Rod and Pam said there was no place they would rather be than the Bundaberg Region.
“We love the weather and the sea. It's a beautiful area,” Pam said.
“I play bowls which I didn't do in the UK … I even drink Bundaberg rum now” Rod laughed.
Na Chen says Bundaberg perfect for families
Na Chen from China said she had been in Australia for six years and was proud to finally call the country, and Bundaberg, her home.
The remedial massage therapist originally moved to the region because of her husband.
“He is actually Australian and six years ago we moved here,” she said.
“Since I have come here I have had support from friends and family, especially my husband.
“I think it is a big step, it means more opportunity. The community is very welcoming and supportive.
“It is a great place for bringing up children.”
Mayor congratulates 57 citizens
Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey said the ceremony was an opportunity for all Australians, whether citizens by birth or choice, to come together to acknowledge what’s great about being Australian.
“There is no greater privilege than our citizenship. It’s a lifelong commitment to Australia’s values of freedom, democracy, equality and respect,” Mayor Dempsey said.
Australian Citizenship Day provides an occasion for individuals, schools, community groups and organisations to reflect on the values of Australian citizenship and the contributions of citizens to our local communities.
“I encourage everyone in the Bundaberg Region to reflect on and affirm their Australian citizenship on September 17 as we warmly welcome all those becoming citizens,” Mayor Dempsey said.