Martin Hoffman resigns from the NDIA

Denham Sadler
National Affairs Editor

Martin Hoffman has resigned as chief executive of the National Disability Insurance Agency after nearly three years in the role and just weeks after Labor’s election win.

Mr Hoffman has been criticised in his time as head of the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), particularly during the attempted rollout of controversial independent assessments, which were dubbed “robo-planning”.

New NDIS Minister Bill Shorten has been an outspoken critic of Mr Hoffman.

The NDIA Board announced on Wednesday morning it had accepted Mr Hoffman’s resignation, effective July 2.

Outgoing NDIA CEO Martin Hoffman

In a brief statement, Mr Shorten said the NDIA board and Mr Hoffman had “agreed” he will “step down”.

“I thank Mr Hoffman for his service and wish him well in his next endeavours,” Mr Shorten said.

“A new chief executive will be appointed in a timely fashion in the coming months.”

NDIS Board chair Denis Napthine said Mr Hoffman had led the agency with “passion, grace and commitment”.

“During Martin’s leadership the NDIS completed the full transition from the old systems – and grew dramatically with now more than 520,000 participants benefitting from the scheme,” Mr Napthine said.

“He has also overseen significant participant experience improvements, with an emphasis on digital investment that will deliver further improvements in the future.”

Mr Hoffman said it had been an “absolute privilege” to serve in the role.

“I wish the scheme, and its participants, families, carers and providers all the very best for the future. I thank the amazing staff of the Agency for their dedication and support,” he said.

NDIA deputy CEO Lisa Studdert will serve as acting CEO, with the agency to launch an open recruitment process immediately.

Before taking on the head role at the NDIA, Mr Hoffman led a taskforce to design the new Services Australia department in mid-2019. The “comprehensive strategic plan” was developed over six weeks in partnership with consulting giants McKinsey and KPMG.

Mr Hoffman previously served as NSW Finance secretary, where he oversaw the implementation of New South Wales’ digital strategy from mid-2015, which included the launch of Service NSW.

He was appointed as CEO of the NDIA in November 2019.

Mr Hoffman oversaw the attempted rollout of the highly controversial independent assessments in recent years. Critics slammed these reforms as amounting to “robo-planning” which would have removed the individualised nature of the insurance scheme and replaced it with an algorithm.

These independent assessments were eventually scrapped by the federal government.

While in Opposition, Mr Shorten was scathing of Mr Hoffman’s performance in the role, directly naming him earlier this year.

“You have to question the whole leadership of the NDIS in the last few years. That includes former chair Helen Nugent and Martin Hoffman,” Mr Shorten said in April this year.

“They presided over the independent assessments roll out which would have been a disaster and breached any remaining trust that people with disability had with the government. I haven’t spoken to anyone in the disability sector who has a good word to say about Mr Hoffman.”

Labor has promised to overhaul the NDIS appeals process, with plans to hire 380 new agency staff and crack down on rorting providers and the agency’s use of consultants and private law firms.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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