The man who gave Wagga ratepayers a voice with a focus of keeping council accountable has been thrust into the state government spotlight.
Wes Fang has been announced as the replacement for outgoing Nationals NSW MP Duncan Gay, who has called time on his 29-year political career.
Mr Fang will fill the casual vacancy in the Legislative Council and will be sworn in to the position in August.
He is a former Australian Army pilot and will be the first Nationals Member of the Legislative Council to come from South West NSW in nearly 20 years.
He is also the first NSW Nationals MP to be of Asian heritage.
“It’s been almost 20 years since our last MLC came from the South West and my election shows our part of the world is held in very high regard by the Nationals,” Mr Fang said.
A former director of the Wagga Business Chamber and founder of the Wagga Ratepayers’ Community, Mr Fang has been involved with the Nationals since 2010. His father is of Singaporean heritage and immigrated to Australia in the 1970s.
He lives with his young family in Wagga where his wife is a paediatrician.
NSW deputy premier and leader of the Nationals, John Barilaro, said Mr Fang would get straight to work as NSW’s newest Member of Parliament.
“I congratulate Wes and know that he will work hard for the people of regional NSW,” Mr Barilaro said.
NSW Nationals Chairman Bede Burke said Mr Fang was the standout candidate among 12 after a “robust preselection lasting eight hours”.
“It is great for our party that there has been such strong interest from our membership as we gain momentum across the state,” Mr Burke said.
“Wes will have big shoes to fill as NSW is markedly better because of Duncan, and the party is supremely grateful for his lifetime of service.”