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Today, the City of Canterbury Bankstown welcomed more than 2,000 new citizens during Australia's largest* citizenship ceremony.
The historic ceremony saw new citizens from more than 90 countries taking the pledge at the Dunc Gray Velodrome in Bass Hill.
Topping the list, were arrivals from Vietnam (338), followed by Bangladesh (239), Pakistan (192), Lebanon (168) and India (116). And at the other end of the scale, there were about 20 countries represented by one person each.
Vianney Ninkeje, from Sefton, was among the 2,021 residents who were invited to became citizens today.
Five years ago, the 26-year-old moved to Australia from Burundi, a small land-locked country in east Africa, and is the first from his country to take the pledge in Canterbury-Bankstown.
Mr Ninkeje said becoming an Australian Citizen was very exciting.
"I came to Australia to live with my uncle in 2016," Mr Ninkeje said.
"And while I was waiting to get my citizenship, I studied and got a Bachelor of Medicine. I've just finished the degree and am now looking for work.
"There were a lot of political issues in the country I came from. It wasn't easy to get a job and there was nowhere to study.
"Australia has given me so many opportunities and I'm so thankful."
Canterbury-Bankstown Mayor Khal Asfour said today signifies the start of a new chapter as they start their new life as an Australian citizen.
"I feel immensely proud to be hosting this record-breaking citizenship ceremony in our City to help 2,021 new citizens, from all walks of life and from all around the world, take the pledge and call Australia home," Mayor Asfour said.
"I believe there is no greater privilege than receiving Australian citizenship – a life-long commitment to Australia's values of freedom, democracy and equality.
"In 2016, more than 60 per cent of residents said they spoke a language other than English at home, and around 45 per cent came to our City from another country.
"In 2021 and onwards, I am excited to see this number grow.
"I wish our new citzens every success for the future and embrace them with open arms so they feel safe and free to fulfil their dreams."
*CBCity's citizenship ceremony is the largest in NSW history and we're awaiting confirmation from the National Office on if it is the largest ceremony ever held in Australia.
23/06/2021 4:18 PM