A NEW LIFE: Gabriela Cruz and Antonio Silva are happy to now call themselves Australian after officially becoming some of the nation’s newest citizens in a Rockhampton ceremony on Thursday.
A NEW LIFE: Gabriela Cruz and Antonio Silva are happy to now call themselves Australian after officially becoming some of the nation’s newest citizens in a Rockhampton ceremony on Thursday. Allan Reinikka Rokacitizen

New Aussies loving way of life in Rockhampton

EIGHT years ago Gabriela Cruz and Antonio Augusto Silva left Brazil for a better life in Australia.

On Thursday, their dream came true when they officially became some of the country's newest citizens.

They were among the first to take advantage of Federal Government changes to citizenship tests allowing approved people to sit the test at their local Centrelink-Medicare Centre.

The pair said life in Australia and working at Teys Rockhampton gave them more opportunities to succeed than they had in Brazil.

"Now we have the opportunity to have anything," Mr Silva said.

Both were delighted to be able to officially call themselves Aussies after eight years in the county.Now they're able to purchase a house, the couple are also hoping to raise a family in Rockhampton in the future.

And while they love their new life in Rockhampton, Ms Cruz said it was hard to be so far away from their family.

"We miss them so much, but we prefer living here," she said.

Speaking at Teys Rockhampton yesterday, Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said people like Mr Silva and Ms Cruz were a valuable asset to the community.

Ms Landry said the changes to the citizenship test meant people in the Rockhampton and Mackay regions no longer had to travel to Brisbane, or wait for immigration staff to visit the area.

She said Teys Rockhampton, who employed 1100 people in the region, played an important role in helping integrate new citizens into the community.

Teys Rockhampton General Manager Wasantha Mudannayake said they employed people from 29 different nationalities.

"We are proud to keep them over here and look after them," he said.

"People come from other countries and are willing to learn and work hard and go on to become successful citizens."

Mr Mudannayake said new citizens supported the local community, put money back into Rockhampton's economy and added "cultural vibrancy" to the city.

About 125,000 citizenship tests are taken nationally each year, of these about 14,000 are taken in regional Australia.

Becoming citizens

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What do we remember on Anzac Day?

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