City of Newcastle welcomed its largest number of new citizens yet via group virtual ceremonies on Tuesday, conferring Australian citizenship upon 190 people from 39 countries.
Following the success of earlier online ceremonies, lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes and deputy lord mayor Declan Clausen presided over a further two ceremonies each via Zoom to allow our newest citizens to take the pledge of commitment whilst the Hunter Region is still under lockdown.
Despite changing COVID-19 restrictions impacting the traditional face-to-face ceremony format, the City has gained 500 citizens in 2021, significantly reducing the waitlist for the Newcastle Local Government Area.
Cr Nelmes said becoming an Australian citizen was not only an important ceremonious occasion, but a vital step towards exercising the democratic right to vote as well as apply for jobs and an Australian passport.
“The COVID-19 global pandemic has displaced many people in many different ways, be it through job losses or a reduction in work, illness, or separation from loved ones,” Cr Nelmes said.
“Adapting our face-to-face citizenship ceremonies to online was a simple measure City of Newcastle could take to provide practical support to our new citizens at this challenging time.”
Newcastle’s newest citizens hail from all corners of the globe, from Afghanistan and Iran to Sri Lanka and South Africa.