This Australia Day I will welcome 24 new citizens at a ceremony in Hyde Park. Our newest Australians hail from diverse backgrounds and 13 different countries, including families from Bangladesh, China and the USA.
This is the eleventh year as Lord Mayor that I have officiated at Citizenship ceremonies. I have been honoured during that time to have made over 19,000 people citizens from nearly 200 countries.
It's fitting we welcome these new Australians as we take the time to reflect on and celebrate our community and our rich and diverse culture.
There are people from nearly 200 different countries and territories living in our city, and their languages, customs and backgrounds are part of what makes Sydney a great global city. Sydney's diversity is one of its great strengths, and we value its rich mix of people and cultures.
We must also take time on Australia Day to honour the traditional custodians of our land and commit to forging bonds of genuine reconciliation with the first Australians. We are a land of opportunity, but we also face many challenges, including the ongoing reconciliation with our Indigenous people.
At this year's Citizenship ceremony I will ask our newest Australians to embrace and advance the freedom, the peace, the diversity and tolerance that we are privileged to enjoy here. I hope we can all reflect on that this Australia Day.
There is so much to do on Australia Day in the City. Join me down at Hyde Park, which will be transformed into a summer playground for kids, head down to Sydney Harbour for live music and other free activities, or take part in the Yabun Festival, celebrating our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, at Victoria Park in Glebe. The festival provides free entertainment for all ages with more than 50 food and craft stalls, workshops and the opportunity to participate in traditional games, kids' theatre and weaving classes.
To find out more, visit: http://whatson.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/events/25846-australia-day-in-sydney