The NT Government is out of the woods following their "huge administrative embarrassment" which left teachers across the territory unable to teach for up to three days.
Two weeks ago, teachers had to step away from their usual front of class duties as the Education Department struggled to process a backlog of working with children "Ochre" cards before they expired.
By law, teachers and anyone else working with children must have an Ochre Card, and teachers in Katherine were not immune to the bungle.
"What we had was a whole bunch of teachers with cards expiring in January, they got notifications over Christmas and as most of them go away would have missed it," secretary of the Australian Education Union NT Branch, Adam Lampe said.
"We do know classes were cancelled in remote communities, and some small remote schools might have had its whole staff without an Ochre Card and legally they should have closed.
"The issue is around the fact that SafeNT did not have enough staff to process renewals."
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Mr Lampe said the introduction of Ochre Cards in 2009 brought with it a host of consequences which "were not thought through".
"Everyone needs an Ochre Card - teachers, bus drivers, the footy coach taking little league - we are talking about tens of thousands of people," Mr Lampe said.
"A lot of renewals came up at once.
"SafeNT can process about 700-800 a day but if you have 10,000 people, that is going to take time.
"How it was applied was it was overly risk adverse.
"People collecting garbage without Ochre Cards were being turned away from schools."
The union will be seeking changes to the Child Protection Act to shift police check delegations to the teachers registration board. Mainly to alleviate administration pressure on SafeNT.
According to a Department of Education spokeswoman, "the Department of Education has been working with SafeNT and Territory Families to fast track outstanding applications for Ochre Care renewals and/or temporary exemptions.
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"Fast tracking of outstanding applications has now been completed and the process of applying for Ochre Cards including renewals and temporary exemptions has returned to business as usual.
"During this period, no employees had their pay impacted," she said.
Mr Lampe said the Education Department is now working with other agencies to try to work out a policy framework to ensure the administraion mishap is not repeated.
"It wasn't life threatening in education, certainly for us it is about kids not having a teacher in front of them.
"It was a huge administrative embrassament to the Government, especially as we told them what was coming weeks ago.
"[The Department of Education] did fix it quickly, they did take it seriously and they want to make sure it doesn't happen again," Mr Lampe said.
Most teachers caught up in the government botch were left in the lurch for one day, while others were forced from their class rooms for up to three days.
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