Concern about how the Australian National University was spending government arts grants was partly behind a controversial decision to scale back funding - and axe a prestigious music program.
Ministerial briefings released under Freedom of Information laws reveal officials urging a rethink of funding arrangements with the ANU in 2016 had raised red flags such as a "lack of clarity" over university spending as well as potential "double dipping" or duplication between directorates.
Annual funding from artsACT to the ANU's schools of music, art and library services was then slashed from about $1.2 million to less than $700,000, and two celebrated high school music programs cut.
The university denies it mismanaged the money, expressing disappointment that the government withdrew its support for the courses.
"In recent years, artsACT has identified a number of concerns with the funding arrangement for the ANU ... particularly relating to the School of Music programs," a briefing to the then arts minister Chris Bourke in late 2017 read.
As well as "consistent underspends and a singular focus on working in schools", officials took issue with "duplication of some its activities with limited demonstration of value for money" and a focus on propping up "academic research, staffing and development that should be a core responsibility of the ANU".
"These issues have been raised with the School of Music on numerous occasions," it read.
Officials did not appear to find fault with the content of the ANU's suite of community outreach programs, including the long-running music extension program now known as the "H course", and acknowledged they had achieved a lot for the community.
Canberra's music scene has also backed the H course in particular as cost effective, noting its unique design within the ANU's existing school of music was less expensive than most other extension programs interstate.
They now warn the capital's next generation of musicians will be left without a pathway into classical music and jazz when its final semester wraps up at the end of the year.
But the government said the high school programs no longer aligned with artsACT's focus on community outreach rather than education.
"You should also note that the ANU has again been in the media with budget and management issues affecting staffing and student numbers," one ministerial briefing from December of that year read.
A government spokeswoman said artsACT met with the university and decided not to investigate after accepting its explanation for the financial issues raised.
Those included allegations of corruption and misuse of arts funding levelled at ANU management by Professor Tregear and other former staff.
One charge around spending on a concert was dismissed as unfounded by an external investigator hired by the university. But the ANU did not say if all claims - including that an academic not connected to the program received a pay rise from an account allegedly connected to the arts grant - had been investigated, two years after they were first lodged in a 2017 public interest disclosure.
A spokesman said the ANU could not comment on PID matters as they were subject to confidentiality obligations.
When first approached by The Canberra Times in 2015 over Professor Tregear's claims, the university said it was content all policies had been following properly.
On Tuesday, an ANU spokesman stressed artsACTs funding had only ever been used in accordance with its agreement with the government.
Funds were regularly audited, including by the National Audit Office, and artsACT received proposed budgets for approval "that do on occasion require discussions", he said.
"The ANU has a stringent code of conduct and conflict of interest policies which ensure that employees are managed in accordance with proper processes."
While officials repeatedly raised concerns the ANU was "double dipping" by receiving funding from both the arts and education portfolios, the lion's share for the program, $275,000 in funding, had long come from artsACT according to the same cache of documents.
After the program became an accredited ATAR extension program or "H course", education had thrown in part of the $120,000 it puts towards all 13 H courses but the university stressed this was not enough to run the music program.
Last week, an inquiry into the decision to axe the course descended into finger-pointing between the government and the university.
The ANU called on the education directorate to step up and deliver eleventh-hour funding in the place of artsACT, rejecting government claims it dragged its heels on talks to save the H course.
In a letter to Education Minister Yvette Berry in December 2017, Arts minister Gordon Ramsay also said the program was "more aligned with the education portfolio".