NEW SOUTH WALES: Australia has elected its first Sikh MP in Gurmesh Singh Sidhu who won the Coffs Harbour constituency to reach New South Wales (NSW) state parliament.

Gurmesh Singh was fielded by the National Party of Australia after Andrew Fraser, who after serving as an MP for 28 years, decided to retire.

Of the total 41,581 votes, Gurmesh Singh secured 18,172 votes while the remainder was divided among seven candidates, who could were unable to reach the five-digit figure.

A fourth generation Australian, Gurmesh Singh is chairman of Oz Group Cooperative – a group of blueberry growing Sikh farmers, which happens to be one of the biggest suppliers of blueberries in Australia.

The cooperative was formed after the decline of the local banana industry. Just four berry-growing families of Coffs Coast Sikh community founded it and now it already has around 100 growers.

“Born and raised here, I want to continue in Andrew Fraser’s footsteps by being a strong local member who isn’t afraid to fight for our community on the big issues that will see our region remain strong“.

In his introductory post, Gurmesh Singh called himself a national’s candidate who was a “third generation Coffs local.” He has two children with his wife.

“I have worked in various industries, from marketing to design, as well as agriculture. I want to make sure that our region grows, our smaller industries are not forgotten, I want to see less of red tape and taxes to help small business thrive,” he said.