Illawarra group worried by P&C in-fighting

An Illawarra P&C president has expressed concern the infighting at the NSW Parents and Citizens Federation could have a "flow down" effect on schools.

The federation, which advises public school associations across the state, has long been marred by power struggles and allegations of mismanagement and bullying.

Tensions boiled over last Wednesday when former president Sharryn Brownlee and two other women took control of the federation's headquarters in Granville.

In November, Mrs Brownlee and other members voted to remove president Lyall Wilkinson and have herself installed in his place, but Mr Wilkinson did not recognise the meeting's legitimacy.

Last year the government froze its annual funding to the federation, worth $380,000 a year, and education minister Adrian Piccoli has described the organisation as an "unacceptable rabble."

Renee Stewart, president of Primbee Public School P&C, said while the federation's power struggles did not affect the day-to-day running of local associations, she was concerned the ongoing conflicts could give P&Cs "a bad name" and affect how they operated in the future.

"I am waiting for the flow-down effect, for an email or some more information, because essentially without the overarching federation I don't know P&Cs could continue in the same capacity that they currently do," she said.

"I have a feeling it will have a flow-on effect, but I don't know how or when.

Like in any organisation, it's a shame when in-fighting gets in the way of what is ideally meant to benefit the children and schools."

Mr Wilkinson on Thursday applied for a Supreme Court injunction asking that Mrs Brownlee be removed from the Granville building and everything be handed back. The matter will be heard on Tuesday.


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