I came to Australia almost 29 years ago as a young 17-year-old international student. Coming from humble beginnings in India, I had no expectation or idea what Australia and NSW would be like.
My first introduction to the electorate of Riverstone was as a young father, with my wife, Jennifer, and our young sons moving into our first home in Quakers Hill. This was the time when I had left my corporate job at ACP to join the NSW Police force. Now 20 years later and I am serving as a Sergeant Prosecutor (Head of Court) at Blacktown.
The role for me is both challenging and rewarding but one in which service to the community is at its heart; something the corporate world didn’t necessarily offer me and something I was looking for.
Australia had given me an education a career and most importantly my wife, Jennifer, and our beautiful children, Joel, and Daniel. So, while my family and career were going well, I wanted to do something to give back to a country and an area that had given me so much.
As an immigrant from India, I know that starting a new life in a foreign land isn’t the easiest thing to do. That’s why in 2011 I became a member, and later President, of the largest not-for-profit Indian community organisation – the Council of Indian Australians. The organisation supports Indian migrants arriving to Australia, promotes and conserves our Indian culture and organises fundraisers for the Indian community in India.
Australia has been a warm and welcoming country to me but when you don’t have your immediate family down the road, a culture that you’re not familiar with or even just food you’re not used to – the change can be overwhelming.
If there was something I could do to make that transition a little easier, well that was what I was going to do. Through the Council, we were able to assist migrants from the Indian subcontinent, to accelerate their integration and assimilation into our mainstream community and raise over $100,000 for various local and Indian charities including Cancer Council NSW, India Vision Foundation, SIMAID, Child in need INDIA, White Ribbon Australia and Pratham Australia to name a few. We also organised successful festivals including “Holi and Harmony Day” and “Little India Fair” which attracted over 25,000 people.
I am also a passionate volunteer and serve the community as a White Ribbon Ambassador, Family and Consumer Council Member for the Westmead Children’s Hospital, Board Member of Sydney Health Partners and President of the Schofields Cricket Club which is the largest cricket club in the Northwest.
It was this type of work that sparked my interest in politics. I joined the Liberal Party 11 years ago and it was then that I met Mr Kevin Conolly MP our local Liberal member for Riverstone and saw the tireless work and devotion he had to our area.
When I heard that Kevin was retiring, like so many, I was deeply disappointed. What he and the Liberal government have done for Riverstone over the past 12 years is remarkable. When I approached Kevin to say that I was interested in running for the seat, his immediate support for me was a great strength to me.
If someone told me as a young boy in India that one day I would be running for public office in NSW, I would never have believed them. But now with great support from Kevin and the community, and in the knowledge that I would be part of a team that has a plan to keep NSW moving forward, I am more committed than ever to represent the people of Riverstone.
With the State Election on the 25th March, it is going to be a big month for our Kumar family, however we will be taking time to celebrate Holi and would like to wish everyone a very Happy Holi with new beginnings and opportunities.