On the eve of introducing legislation to create the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Prime Minister Julia Gillard has labelled it a once in a generation opportunity.
Ms Gillard will introduce draft laws in the lower house on Thursday for the scheme that is expected to cost about $15 billion a year when fully implemented in 2018/19.
The bill will establish a launch transition agency with responsibility for running the NDIS.
Labor has set aside $1 billion for trial sites but the coalition is concerned about how it will be funded beyond that.
It will be of particular interest to a young Tasmanian man called Corey who had asked the prime minister when she was going to make the NDIS happen.
"Tonight, I can tell Corey and the whole nation: I will introduce legislation establishing the National Disability Insurance Scheme into the House of Representatives tomorrow (Thursday)," she announced at the National Disability Awards in Canberra on Wednesday.
"I've said in the past we will get this thing done.
"I can say tonight we are getting this thing done."
The cruel lottery for the disabled must end, Ms Gillard said.
"Be proud that you are doing something rare in Australian public policy: adding a pillar to our system of social care alongside the minimum wage, the age pension, Medicare and universal superannuation," Ms Gillard said.
"It's an achievement that happens, at best, once in a generation."
Disability advocates had made the NDIS possible through activism and advocacy, the prime minister said.
She praised their meticulous research and policy development as well as their unity.
Ms Gillard said she could not underestimate what it had taken for the sector riven by the struggles of a failing system to come together in support of change.
Earlier in the Senate on Wednesday, opposition disabilities spokesman Mitch Fifield challenged Labor to reveal how much money would be needed to deliver the full rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
"Legislation to establish the NDIS is a hollow gesture without funding certainty," Senator Fifield said.
Finance Minister Penny Wong said the federal government would make the announcement in next year's budget.
The scheme is expected to give people with disabilities the flexibility to choose the type of care and support they receive.
The draft legislation sets up the framework for the scheme, including eligibility criteria, age requirements and what constitutes reasonable and necessary support.
The prime minister said a special award - Outstanding Achievement Award - went to Dr Rhonda Galbally in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the disability sector over 30 years of campaigning.
The Minister's Award for Excellence in Disability Reform went to Michael Small of Tasmania and Samantha Jenkinson of Western Australia.
The Emerging Leaders Award went to an actor with Down Syndrome, Gerard O'Dwyer, of Guildford in NSW.
The Captioning Studio in Adelaide and Australian Communication Exchange in Queensland were recognised for their excellence in improving social participation.
Telstra got a gong for excellence in improving employment opportunities and the Safe Futures Foundation of Victoria was recognised for its excellence in Accessible Communities Award.
State Operations Manager, Family and Community Services, for Baptcare in Tasmania, Mary D'Elia, was recognised for her excellence in improving personal and community support.
An excellence in Advocacy and Rights Promotion Award went to Communication Rights Australia; the excellence in improving health outcomes award went to Family Planning in Queensland; and Clifton Hill Primary School principal Geoffrey Warren received an excellence in improving education outcomes award.
The final award, the Yooralla Media Award of Distinction, was given to the Network Ten show The Project, for its commitment to air a range of issues across the disability sector.