WELCOME NEW CITIZENS: Sachprett Kaur, Satbir Kaur, Harminder Singh and Arshpreet Singh after officially becoming Australians.
WELCOME NEW CITIZENS: Sachprett Kaur, Satbir Kaur, Harminder Singh and Arshpreet Singh after officially becoming Australians.

Long journey to become Australians

MEET the Singh-Kaur family - they are the Clarence Valley's newest family after becoming Australian citizens yesterday.

The Singh-Kaur family, who came from India, have lived in the Clarence Valley for almost nine years.

After they left India with their children, Harminder Singh and his wife Satbir Kaur secured work together out near Corindi and settled in a little house just off the highway.

"We have been here for around eight and a half years," Mr Singh said.

"More like nine years now. It feels like so long," Mrs Kaur added.

The family decided becoming Australian citizens was just the right thing to do.

The opportunity to vote in elections and get a say over their home and how it is run was a major drawcard for the family.

"Why wouldn't we become citizens?" Mr Singh said.

"We are now Aussie Aussie Aussie. We can vote now. We get a say about the place that we live in and love."

"This country gives our children the chance at a good future, there is so much opportunity for them in Australia."

Mr Singh said that although the family missed their old home in India they were happy in Australia with all their family living here.

"Sometimes we miss India," Mr Singh said.

"But we are too busy to spend time missing India. Everyone is here now anyway, my mother and sister and all my family is here now.

"This is our home and now we can say we are Australian."

Three others became Australians at the citizenship ceremony.

MARISSA RYAN originally comes from a small town in the Philippines but has been living with her Australian husband Kevin in the Clarence Valley for almost five years.

Mrs Ryan says her major motivation to become an Australian citizen was her desire to become naturalised.

"My husband is Australian and that is what I wanted to be as well. It's good to live over here," Mrs Ryan said.

"There is so much more opportunity in Australia. I don't know what I love the most about Australia.

"I miss my home in the Philippines so much but I have family over here. This is my new home."

PRAKOB BAFF came from a small town 40 minutes north-east of Bangkok in Thailand.

"Ten years ago I married a beautiful Aussie man," Ms Baff says.

"I have three beautiful children to him too who are Australian. Now it is time I think that I join them and become Australian.

Ms Baff has said the best thing about becoming a citizen is the new culture that she is a part of.

"I love the new culture. That is the best thing about Australia but there is a lot of things you have to learn.

"We used to go back to Thailand to see family once a year but since I've had my youngest we have had to put that on hold. I'm just too busy."

SUSAN ARMSTRONG hails from New Zealand and made the trek across the Tasman 30 years ago and has been living in Grafton for the past 20 years.

"I was never in a hurry to become an Australian citizen," Mrs Armstrong said. "With the bilateral nature of the two countries it was never an issue. But now I feel it is time."

With her Australian husband, Mrs Armstrong created a family in Australia. "All of my family is Australian and now I am too," she said.

"I'll probably keep my New Zealand passport for now just to make things easier with travelling between the countries."



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