CIT Y WELCOMES NEW CITIZENS
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.
HAVEN OF CALM: Priyantha Ranawaka with daughter Mathishi Gamaetige, 14.