Mayor welcomes East Gippsland’s newest Aussies

St Mary’s Parish Centre in Bairnsdale was beaming with smiles today as 11 East Gippslanders officially became Australian citizens.

The participants from Belgium, England, Malaysia,Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland and Scotland, formally pledged their commitment to Australia at the citizenship ceremony.

Cr Mark Reeves said conducting citizenship ceremonies was one of the greatest pleasures and is undertaken with a huge amount of pride.

“It’s always a pleasure to welcome new citizens and today is very special because this has been a long time coming for most of the participants,” Cr Reeves said.

“Welcoming people from all walks of life and all corners of the globe to East Gippsland enriches our community and makes us who we are today. We are proud of our diversity and of the welcoming nature of our region.”

One of new citizens, Yvonne van Zon, said she came to Australia on a working holiday visa from the Netherlands in 2009. After landing a role with sponsorship, Yvonne met her now husband, moved to Buchan and later relocated to Bairnsdale.

“I have held every visa under the sun, and I have been waiting for this day for more than 10 years. It’s a huge honour to become Australian citizen, there is no better place to call home,” Mrs van Zon said.

East Gippsland Shire has welcomed 79 new citizens in 2021 across five citizenship ceremonies. The next ceremony will be held on 26 January 2022 – Australia Day.

To watch the ceremony, visit Council’s YouTube channel ‘EastGippyTV’

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