Western Downs welcomes new Australian citizens
In two words, young Philip Joseph Marcelo summed up what it meant to be Australian.
He, along with three of his siblings and father, became citizens at a special ceremony on Wednesday at Gallery 107.
Held by the Western Downs Regional Council, 15 residents of the area all read an oath to pledge their allegiance to the nation.
On one end of the scale was Philip Joseph, who has lived in the country for four years after being born in the Philippines.
"I want to become a nurse in Australia and also help out my dad and my mum,” he said.
His father, Philip Marcelo, has been here for more than a decade and decided to make the move with his family in mind.
"I've been here since September 2007,” Mr Marcelo said.
"I haven't been back to our own country after that. I love living here too much.
"We went here for my kids and their future ... I hope they try to blend with Australia.
"This is a really big privilege to us to become Australian citizens and to be part of Australia.”
Mr Marcelo works at Alister Piggery in Macalister and with the help of his employer was able to realise his dream.
"When I came here I was on the 457 visa, after four years my employer gave me a permanent residency and after one year I applied for citizenship.”
Mr Marcelo is now intent on making the next chapter of his family's life in the Western Downs a special one.
"I live in Dalby, my favourite thing about the region is the Dalby Delicious and Delightful Festival and the Toowoomba Flower Festival.”
Mayor Paul McVeigh hosted the citizenship ceremony and said how much joy he took out of moments like this.
"I warmly congratulate our new citizens on taking their first steps of being an Australian,” Cr McVeigh said.
"I look forward to the contribution you will all make to our society.”