A five-year COAG trial program in the Murdi Paaki region of western New South Wales was operated by the then Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training and the New South Wales Department of Education and Training, in partnership with 16 Indigenous communities. The purpose of the program was to explore innovative ways of doing business and delivering services in the Murdi Paaki communities. This article outlines the program's aims of building trust, enhancing capacity and working together to improve service delivery in these communities. It identifies the program's key achievements in translating partnerships into tangible social and economic outcomes as they relate to education, health, law and justice, and economic development. The article discusses the lessons learned from the program and how these can be built on for the future benefit of Indigenous communities.