On July 28, 2004 IndiaExpress.com reported, "The World Sikh Conference [will] be held in Sydney in September to discuss issues affecting the community and promote understanding of Sikhism. The two-day conference, including delegates from India, Canada, the United Kingdom and Malaysia, will begin on September 18. The conference will be funded by the New South Wales (NSW) Community Relation Commission's 2004 Community Development Grants Programme, NSW premier Bob Carr said 'They are a hard working, well respected community who have made a significant contribution to the State,' he added. The first Sikhs arrived on Australian shores in the late 19th century as workers on the sugarcane plantations in the state of Queensland. Today, there is a significant Sikh population on the mid-North Coast around Coffs Harbour, where they run banana plantations. According to the 2001 Census, 8,604 people in NSW identified their faith as Sikhism and there were over 17,000 Sikhs across Australia."