The inquiry into service delivery to remote and discrete Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders was a 'once-in-a-generation' opportunity to look at how Queensland policy and services can improve outcomes for communities. In conducting the inquiry, the Commission worked with broad terms of reference to find answers in a complex and contentious policy space. Stakeholder groups had diverse expectations of the focus of the inquiry and what could be achieved.
Reflecting on lessons from the inquiry, three key aspects stand out:
The independent, public inquiry process helped deliver better advice to government
Consultation was a challenge, but delivered a high return
Evidence and economics can ‘cut through’ the ideology and politics of complex social problems
This paper provides an overview of the inquiry and explores each of these aspects. We hope that some of our insights will prove helpful to others handling complex policy reviews in the future.