CIT Y WEL­COMES NEW CIT­I­ZENS

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - DANNI SHAFIK

SRI Lankan im­mi­grant Priyan­tha Ranawaka has called Townsville home since 2011 but yes­ter­day she of­fi­cially be­came part of the com­mu­nity.

Townsville City Coun­cil wel­comed 21 new cit­i­zens at a cer­e­mony held as part of Aus­tralian Cit­i­zen­ship Day.

The na­tional day of­fers the chance for in­di­vid­u­als, schools, com­mu­nity groups and or­gan­i­sa­tions to re­flect on the val­ues of Aus­tralian cit­i­zen­ship and the con­tri­bu­tions of cit­i­zens to lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

In Townsville, peo­ple from 11 nations took part in the cit­i­zen­ship cer­e­mony yes­ter­day. Mrs Ranawaka said she was happy to now feel like a part of the Aus­tralian com­mu­nity.

“I love the peo­ple, the cul­ture, the kind­ness and the free­dom to live and talk and pur­sue ideas freely,” she said.

“Townsville in par­tic­u­lar is a very good place to live and I just love the quiet and calm en­vi­ron­ment.”

Mrs Ranawaka has lived in Townsville since 2011 with her hus­band and two chil­dren, who have al­ready be­come cit­i­zens.

“The most im­por­tant thing here is the equal treat­ment to ev­ery per­son, and how your skill is val­ued,” she said.

Act­ing mayor Les Walker said the cer­e­mony was an op­por­tu­nity for all Aus­tralians to ac­knowl­edge what’s great about be­ing Aus­tralian.

“Aus­tralian cit­i­zen­ship is a ... life­long com­mit­ment to Aus­tralia’s val­ues of free­dom, se­cu­rity, democ­racy, equal­ity and re­spect,” Cr Walker said.

Pic­ture: SCOTT RAD­FORD- CHISHOLM

HAVEN OF CALM: Priyan­tha Ranawaka with daugh­ter Mathishi Ga­maetige, 14.

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