26 Jan 2013

Record number of new Aussies on Australia Day

6:04 am on 26 January 2013

A record number of people will become citizens this Australia Day and start their new lives in Australia.

Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Chris Bowen said 17,059 people from 145 countries will become Australian citizens on Saturday, with 430 ceremonies planned across the nation.

Australia Day is always the most popular day for citizenship ceremonies.

"Australia Day is a special day for all Australians to come together to celebrate what is great about our nation - our rich history and our promising future," Mr Bowen said in a statement.

AAP reports Queensland will naturalise the most people - almost 5000. The largest ceremony will be at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, where about 1200 people will become Australians.

New South Wales and Victoria will each welcome 3800 new citizens, South Australia 1300, Western Australia 2500, Tasmania 320 and the Northern Territory 260.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard will confer citizenship on 22 people in Canberra.

Mr Bowen said more than 4.5 million people have become Australian citizens since the first ceremony on Australia Day in 1949.