Abstract: Service delivery in remote and discrete communities is a complex ‘system’ of policy design, governance, funding and direct service provision, with responsibilities shared across all levels of government. The Queensland Government spends around $1.2 billion a year ($29,000 per person) on services to remote and discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Despite these expenditures, outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in remote and discrete communities remain far behind the rest of the state, with most communities dependent on external resourcing. There is a strong commitment from government, service providers and communities to address the complex and longstanding issues facing remote and discrete communities, but the system they are operating under is fundamentally broken. There have been several past reform attempts, but they have not addressed the underlying incentives in the service delivery system that undermine outcomes and foster passive dependence. The key to achieving a sustained improvement is to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to develop solutions for themselves. This means a change to the overall policy and service delivery architecture through three reforms: structural reform to transfer accountability and decision-making to communities, service delivery reform to better focus on the needs of individuals and communities, economic reform to facilitate economic participation and community development. The reforms will need to be underpinned by capability and capacity building within government, service providers and communities to support a new way of doing things, independent oversight, as well as timely and transparent data collection and reporting to ensure performance and accountability. The potential benefits are large, both in terms of improving wellbeing in communities and the savings that could be directed towards activities communities value most highly.