Twenty eight Newman locals were declared Australian citizens at a special ceremony in the East Pilbara last fortnight celebrating the diversity of the region. The event, held in Nullagine, hosted people from different countries including the Philippines, India, South Africa, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, United States, Indonesia, Zimbabwe, Thailand and Taiwan. Shire of East Pilbara president Anthony Middleton said it was incredibly meaningful to welcome the new Australian citizens on the special 20 year anniversary of Australian Citizenship Day. “Citizenship is a common bond which unites all Australia, whether they are Australia’ traditional inhabitants, first generation migrants or early settlers,” he said. “Our people have made Australia what it is, building our nation into a vibrant, open and diverse society of which we can all be proud. “We are part of such a diverse and multicultural region and nation, and being able to welcome 28 new citizens on Friday was so meaningful.” In the 2016 Census, figures revealed 38 per cent of the Shire’s population was born overseas, while 51 per cent has at least one parent born overseas. Lilaraj Sharma was one of the 28 conferees who became an Australian citizen on the day. He said he enjoyed life in the Pilbara and looked forward to introducing his family to the region once borders re-opened. “I’m too happy, it’s been too long waiting here in Nullagine. When the borders open I want to bring my wife here, I really like Nullagine,” he said. Kulimr Kaur, pictured, was also declared a citizen on the day.