Prime Minister Julia Gillard introduced the bill for the National Disability Insurance Scheme into Parliament this morning, but the dispute over who pays will be settled next year.
While Ms Gillard's colleagues were on breakfast TV attempting to defuse the latest controversy about her former boyfriend's fraudulent ''slush fund'', the Prime Minister told the House of Representatives that ''few actions in public life'' had given her greater pleasure than introducing the NDIS.
''The scheme is ambitious, and necessarily so,'' Ms Gillard said. ''Because more than 400,000 people are living with significant and permanent disabilities.''
Prime Minister Julia Gillard introduces the NDIS bill. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
The NDIS, a complete overhaul of national disability services, will cost an estimated $15 billion a year by 2018, about $8 billion more than the states and territories combined currently spend on disability services.
Ms Gillard will meet with the state premiers next year to settle who pays what.
The states are expected to oppose attempts by the government to extract more money to fund the scheme. Such an approach would also contravene the Productivity Commission's recommendation that the Commonwealth be sole funder and administrator of the NDIS to stop duplication.
Labor says it has committed $1 billion for the first stage of the NDIS.
From the middle of next year, the scheme will be available to more than 20,000 people with disabilities in five launch sites across the country - in the Barwon area in Victoria, the Hunter in New South Wales and across South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.
An independent body, the NDIS Launch Transition Agency, has been set up to run the scheme.
Ms Gillard told the House that the government aims to bring ''a final version of the bill for a vote in the budget session of parliament next year ahead of the first stage of the NDIS from July 2013''.