The Bundaberg Region will kick start its Australia Day celebrations with a citizenship ceremony to welcome more than 30 new Aussies at Bundaberg Multiplex Sport and Convention Centre next week.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said the new citizens were from 12 countries, including the United Kingdom, Japan, Philippines and South Africa and would join thousands of other Australians celebrating their citizenship around the country.
“Australian citizenship ceremonies are an important part of our nation’s celebrations, with more people becoming citizens on Australia Day than any other day of the year,” Mayor Dempsey said.
“Australia Day gives all citizens, whether by birth or choice, the opportunity to openly reflect on what it means to be an Aussie and to celebrate our great nation — our rich Indigenous and migrant history and our promising future.”
“I encourage everyone on Australia Day to celebrate the values that make us proud to call ourselves Australian, including respect for the freedom and dignity of others, the rule of law, democracy and a fair go for all.”
Kelvin Ozoemelam and daughter Chimamaka Chima-Ozoemelam celebrated their citizenship at last year's Australia Day ceremony.
Kelvin said the event was one of the best days of his life.
“It was beautiful, fantastic,” he said.
“My family and I are from Nigeria and came to Australia seven years ago and I work as a medical practitioner.
“My daughter and I attended last year's Australia Day ceremony, it was very special to us and long-awaited.”
Next Wednesday's citizenship ceremony will also include the annual Australia Day Awards, which recognise residents and organisations who have made significant contributions to the region.
The awards will feature Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, Senior Citizen of the Year and Community Group or Event of the Year.
If you’d like to know more about becoming an Australian citizen, visit www.citizenship.gov.au.