Goulburn Mulwaree Council may need a bigger venue on Australia Day 2020 to conduct its next citizenship ceremony, after the Department of Immigration indicated up to 100 people may be looking to take their oath of allegiance.
Last week the city welcomed 28 new citizens into the Goulburn community. Mayor Bob Kirk said many Indian and Pakistani families were among Goulburn’s newest Australian citizens, along with six from the United Kingdom and four from Bangladesh.
“We welcomed 28 excited new citizens from 13 new countries: Pakistan, Nepal, Iraq, England, Scotland, India, Thailand, New Zealand, China, Bangladesh, Fiji, Colombia and South Korea,” Mr Kirk said.
“There was a lull [in citizen applications] and we had single figures there for a while. Something in the processing may have led to a backlog.”
Mr Kirk says he’s unsure why so many people are becoming citizens in Goulburn, but the friendliness of the region and job opportunities can’t be discounted.
On Tuesday, Mr Kirk spoke to a new Australian citizen of Indian descent who said he’d bought a block of land in the new Teneriffe estate development and lodged plans to build a home. He told Mr Kirk he’d become well entrenched in the local community, one reason being house prices are attractive when compared with capital cities. At Teneriffe estate blocks are selling for $200,000 to $225,000.
An Indian woman said she was aware of at least 10 others who would take their oath of allegiance on Australia Day, most of whom are finding work at the Goulburn Hospital or in related health or care services.
“If you look at the statistics for Goulburn that is a major employment group. Building and construction, public administration and health are the main employers,” Mr Kirk said.
The 80-bed Goulburn Base Hospital is undergoing a $120 million redevelopment, and the new façade and design are being submitted as a significant development. A multi-disciplinary medical centre, the Goulburn Health Hub, opened in 2016 and is continuing in staged developments.
“There is a big workforce in community care, nursing and hospital network. Every time we have these citizenship ceremonies, I ask the new arrivals, particularly the Indian, Pakistan, Bangladesh people, where they are working, and they say health and allied services. They come here with employment, with the means and capacity to buy and/or build homes in the area. It is all positive. It adds to this surge we are going through at the moment,” Mr Kirk said.