LATROBE City Council welcomed new Australian citizens at a special citizenship ceremony at the Gippsland Performing Arts Centre (GPAC).

The event was held as part of Australia Day celebrations during the 75th anniversary of Australian Citizenship awards.

More than 15,400 people from more than 140 countries were invited to become citizens at one of the 320-plus ceremonies held on January 26, 2024.

Having migrated from different countries, including Colombia, Myanmar, Pakistan, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom, Latrobe City conferees were welcomed by Latrobe City Council Mayor, Darren Howe.

Australian citizenship ceremonies are an important part of the nation’s celebrations. The newest citizens have joined a special group of Australians who will now celebrate the anniversary of their citizenship each Australia Day.

On 26 January, 1949, the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 came into effect, creating the new status of Australian citizen. The first Australian citizenship ceremony was held on February 3, 1949, at Albert Hall in Canberra.

Cr Howe said the skills and cultural diversity of the new citizens, as well as their hard work and participation, would enrich the Latrobe City community.

“Council welcomes new citizens with open arms. We are positive each citizen will continue to make Latrobe City a great place to work, live and visit,” he said.

“We thank each person who supports one another in this beautiful country we call home.”

Latrobe City Councillor, Kellie O’Callaghan, who attended the ceremony, invited all to reflect on Australia’s diversity, the country’s rich First Nations’ connection to country and culture, shared values, collective history and how people can support each other to be involved in all the wonderful opportunities the Latrobe City community brings.

“Citizens from diverse backgrounds are welcomed to our region,” Cr O’Callaghan said.

“Australia is known for its multiculturalism and as a country that values diversity. Our citizenship ceremony is a time to focus on inclusivity and recognise the vibrant cultures, traditions, and experiences that further enhances our big-hearted community.”

More than six million people have chosen to become Australian citizens since the first citizenship ceremony in 1949.

Latrobe City has a successful history of welcoming at least 180 people from all around the world each year and looks forward to welcoming many more for years to come.