As debate swirls around the date for Australia’s national day, Shepparton’s Australia Day committee is hard at work planning events for the city on Friday.
Shepparton’s Australia Day ceremony, at Queens Gardens, will include dance performances by the Filipino Australia Friends Association and children’s entertainment, such as jumping castles and a number of diverse food options, while Australia Day ambassador Huss Mustafa is the event’s guest speaker.
The city will welcome 50 new Australians on Friday.
Some are from neighbouring countries, such as New Zealand and the Philippines, while others have come from as far afield as Afghanistan, Iran, India and Albania.
Greater Shepparton City Council major and business events officer Jeremy Bianco said council had supported six events planned across the city, which he encouraged people to attend.
‘‘We just want to encourage people to get out to these events, get involved in the celebration, celebrate new citizens on the day, celebrate people doing great things in the community,’’ Mr Bianco said.
‘‘And it’s a good opportunity to get out, have a free breakfast, enjoy the sunshine.’’
Committee member Sam Atukorala said for those becoming new citizens, the Australia Day ceremony marked a day many felt part of the Australia community.
‘‘That’s the day they actually call themselves Australian, because that’s the day they get their citizenship,’’ he said.
‘‘They feel officially part of the community.
‘‘It’s an exciting and nervous occasion for some.
‘‘They vary from new arrivals to people from migrant communities, some are waiting a while to become citizens.’’