East Gippsland Shire Welcomes 18 New Citizens

East Gippsland Shire has 18 new citizens following a citizenship ceremony held Bairnsdale on Wednesday, June 12.

The new citizens hailed from the Philippines, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Japan, Colombia, Vietnam, United States, and India formally pledged their commitment to Australia in front of a large gathering of family and friends at St Mary's Parish Centre.

East Gippsland Shire Council Mayor Cr Tom Crook conducted the ceremony and said citizenship ceremonies are special occasions for all involved.

"This is such a big day, not just for the new citizens, but for all of us here to support them. They've chosen Australia as their home, and that's something to celebrate," Cr Crook said.

"Becoming an Australian citizen is a two-way street. It shows you're dedicated to Australia, our values, and building a future together. But it's also about Australia welcoming you and saying we appreciate you and you're one of us now," Cr Crook said.

"Our new citizens come from diverse backgrounds and ages. Some have been part of East Gippsland or elsewhere in Australia for a long time, while others have recently moved to our wonderful country. Like our new citizens, Council is part of our community, and community is at the heart of everything we do," Cr Crook said.

"The diversity of people who chose to call East Gippsland home is one of our region's greatest assets."

Conferees received a certificate, a commemorative citizenship coin, and a native plant as a gift from the Council. This ceremony signifies the completion of all requirements set by Australian law for citizenship.

The ceremony was live-streamed so family and friends from across the world could watch the special occasion. The ceremony can be viewed on Council's YouTube channel.

Council's next citizenship ceremony will be held on Tuesday, September 17 to coincide with Australian Citizenship Day.

Around 11 per cent of East Gippsland Shire's population of nearly 50,000 residents were born overseas. 

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