BECOMING an Australian citizen this Australia Day signifies freedom for Koondoola resident Syphe Singngam.
Originally from Laos, Ms Singngam is one of 816 people from 67 countries who will receive citizenship at the City of Wanneroo’s Australia Day ceremony, the largest in the country.
She moved to Perth in 2006 after marrying her husband Oonehearn (Oney) Sayasone, an Australian citizen she met while he was holidaying in Laos.
“Australia is a beautiful country with beautiful people and now I can call Australia my home,” she said.
“I love the equality and humanity here. The Australian government protects its people and country, and Australia invests money in education, health care, family and pensioner support, and tries hard to be an even better country.”
The couple have two children who were born in Perth and run a store in Westminster, a situation Ms Singngam believes would be very different if she remained in Laos.
“Finding a job is hard and if you don’t have a job or a partner, you don’t get anything from the government,” she said.
“I miss my country and miss my friends and family, but I don’t miss how the government uses money and does things for themselves.”
Ms Singngam said Australia provided freedom and a promising future for her children.
“Nowhere else could be better than Australia,” she said.
“I would like to say ‘thank you’ to the Australian Government and people for welcoming and accepting me as an Australian.”
Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts said this was the third consecutive year the City would host Australia’s largest citizenship ceremony.
“It is such a symbolic day for our nation and I am proud that so many people choose the City of Wanneroo as a place to call home,” she said.
“Nearly 200,000 Western Australians live in the City and each year we welcome more than 8000 new residents to the area.
“The City of Wanneroo is culturally diverse, which is one of the many reasons why these citizenship ceremonies are so important, as more than 40 per cent of our residents were born outside of Australia.”
The event will feature guest speaker Stacy Dunbar, who was named WA’s Australian of the Year Local Hero in 2015 for road safety campaigning, and Mrs Roberts will present the City of Wanneroo Australia Day Awards.
The 1st Wanneroo Scout Group will offer a breakfast from 7am, followed by the ceremony at 9.15am at Wanneroo Showgrounds, corner Wanneroo Road and Ariti Avenue.