Ms JENNY AITCHISON(Maitland)—I was honoured to congratulate and welcome 28 new citizens to the Maitland electorate on Australia Day. This time last year I was hearing from drought and fire impacted people across NSW, some who had lost everything and others who were slowly rebuilding. I was inspired by the hard work, the resilience and the care and indeed love that people demonstrated.

It is this community spirit, this love for others, this desire to help, to care and to protect, that makes me proud to be an Australian Citizen. There is no greater privilege than our citizenship. It's a life-long commitment to Australia's values of freedom, democracy, equality and respect. It was heart-warming to see so many new citizens showing their commitment to our great nation and reflecting on the meaning and importance of Australian citizenship and the shared values that unite us.

On behalf of everyone in Maitland I welcome our new citizens to our family.