FATHIL Nenesh, of Fairfield Heights, was officially welcomed into the Australian community last Thursday when he became an Australian citizen.
The 33-year-old from Iraq attended a citizenship ceremony, held by Fairfield Council at a private function in Bonnyrigg last Thursday, where he was officially welcomed into the Australian community by Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone.
Mr Nenesh said he was thrilled to have finally become an Australian citizen.
"It's such a great feeling, I am so happy," he said.
"My brother was shot dead by the military in Iraq so my mother and I left.
"We went to Jordan and stayed there for a few years before coming to Australia."
He said while he had to pass a citizenship test, he was glad to do whatever he could to stay in the country.
"I know that I'm safe here in Australia."
He was among 12 people in the Fairfield area who became Australian citizens on the day.
Cr Carbone said he was pleased to welcome the new citizens.
"On Australia Day, people from across our great nation, regardless of personal background or upbringing, come together to celebrate life in Australia, its people, its land and our rich cultural diversity," he said.
"Together we celebrate our freedom, democracy and, above all, our sense of a fair go for all."
The Fairfield City Australia Day Community Awards Ceremony was also held at the private function.
It included a presentation of the 2014 Fairfield City Australia Day Community Awards.
Cr Carbone presented the 2014 Fairfield City Citizen, Young Citizen, Sports Achiever and Volunteer of the Year, along with recipients of Australia Day medallions and certificates.