Outgoing NDIA boss Martin Hoffman grilled at disability conference

A controversial agency boss who quit after Labor won government has been lashed in the chat function of a Zoom conference.

Participants of a disability conference have unleashed on the outgoing boss of the National Disability Insurance Agency in what could be his last public event in the role.

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

But things turned sour for the controversial NDIA boss when participants unloaded on him through the chat function on the web seminar.

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

“Move on from this chap. (Where to from here) not where have we been,” another wrote.

“$$$ – Martin Sir, you are not ordering pizza, you are dealing with human beings,” another added.

Despite repeated calls for the group to be respectful and to “just wish him all the best”, the situation did not improve for Mr Hoffman, who was also facing a separate grilling from Ms Karvelas.

Just last week, Mr Hoffman confirmed he would step down from the agency, which manages the National Disability Scheme, amid speculation of his future under a Labor government.

Speaking for the first time since his resignation, Mr Hoffman repeatedly declined to outline why he quit the job and if he would seek out a future role within the disability sector.

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

“I’ve made the decision. The board has accepted it, with regret, as they’ve 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 be taking a little bit of a break and thinking about what’s next and what’s ahead.”

While in opposition, new NDIS Minister Bill Shorten repeatedly lashed the chief executive’s handling of the scheme, including cuts to packages and the rollout of independent assessments.

Mr Hoffman refused to say if Labor’s win factored into his decision making.

In his own address to the conference on Wednesday, Mr Shorten said his focus was improving the effectiveness of the NDIS moving forward.

The NDIA boss agreed and called for the next government to have a more hands-on approach to the scheme.

“I think the scheme would benefit from governments … using section 35 of the Act to make rules, capital R rules, about the provisions of support.”

“What is provided, what is not provided in circumstances, to certain groups of participants or other groups of disciplines, that’s been left solely to the agency to date.

“It‘s a factual statement. That (section 35) has not been used to date.”

Originally published as Frosty reception for controversial NDIA boss Martin Hoffman

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