Icy reception for controversial NDIA boss Martin Hoffman

Disability conference attendees have unleashed the outgoing National Disability Insurance Agency boss in what could be his last public event.

Icy reception for controversial NDIA boss Martin Hoffman

Martin Hoffman appeared on Thursday morning in conversation with ABC presenter Patricia Karvelas during the Where to From Here forum, held entirely via Zoom.

But things turned sour for the controversial NDIA boss when participants charged at him via the chat feature on the web seminar.

“I can’t stand this,” one contestant wrote. “Read the room, Martin!!”

Camera icon Outgoing NDIA boss Martin Hoffman in conversation with Patricia Karvelas on the Where to From Here forum. Credit: Included

“Continue with this chapter. (Where to from here) not where have we been,” wrote another.

“$$$ – Martin Sir, you don’t order pizza; you deal with people,” added another.

Despite repeated calls to the group to be respectful and “wish him all the best,” the situation did not improve for Mr. Hoffman, who was also faced with an individual whim from Ms. Karvelas.

Last week, Mr. Hoffman confirmed he would be stepping down from the agency, which runs the National Disability Scheme, amid speculation about his future under a Labor government.

Mr. Hoffman spoke for the first time since his resignation. He repeatedly declined to say why he resigned and whether he would look for a future position in the disability sector.

“That’s a matter for my family and me,” the chief executive said.

Camera icon Mr. Hoffman declined to explain why he stepped aside. Credit: Included

“I have made the decision. The board has accepted it with regret, as they said. The minister, the current minister, has thanked me for the service. That’s where it stands.

“This is a tough job…so I’ll take a little break and think about what’s next and ahead.”

While in opposition, new NDIS Secretary Bill Shorten repeatedly cited the chief executive’s handling of the scheme, including package cuts and the rollout of independent assessments.

Hoffman declined to say whether Labor’s victory played a role in his decision-making.

In his address to the Wednesday conference, Mr. Shorten said his focus was on improving the effectiveness of the NDIS in the future.

Camera icon Mr. Hoffman said the government should be more involved in the NDIS. Credit: Included

The NDIA boss agreed and called for a more practical approach to the scheme in the next government.

“I think the scheme would benefit from governments … who use Section 35 of the Act to create capital R rules about the support facilities.”

“So far, what is and under certain circumstances is not offered to certain groups of participants or disciplines has only been left to the agency.

“It’s a statement of fact. That (section 35) has not been used to date.”

Lori J. Kile
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