Former Mount Austin schoolboy Wes Fang has been formally elected to the NSW Legislative Council.
A staunch member of the Nationals, Mr Fang was picked to replace long-serving MP Duncan Gay, who retired earlier this year.
Mr Gay’s resignation left a “casual vacancy” in the state’s upper house, requiring a joint sitting of both houses to elect his replacement, with the custom being to find a replacement from within the same party.
Mr Fang said it was an amazing honour to be chosen to serve.
“For the state parliament to bring both houses together to elect me, obviously an enormous logistical exercise, is a fantastic honour,” Mr Fang said. “But the biggest honour is to represent rural and regional communities – and my home town of Wagga – in parliament.”
The joint sitting saw the lower house MPs cram into the upper house chamber for the vote, with the result left to “sit on the table” for 48 hours, before Mr Fang is allowed to be officially sworn in.
However, Mr Fang’s previous experience means he will be ready to serve as soon as the ink is dry.
“The work with the ratepayer’s group was looking after the interests of the community, but playing an active role in the live of sick kids was far more important,” he said.
“This is another level… I’m serving the state but my heart is still in Wagga.”
Deputy Premier John Barilaro said he was delighted to welcome Mr Fang to parliament.
“Wes has a long history of serving his community in the Riverina, and I’m so glad he will be able to continue that service as a member of the Legislative Council from today,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Put simply, Mr Fang and the Nationals share the same values, and I know he will continue to work hard to represent the interests of families, workers and businesses in regional NSW.”