The head of the ACT's infrastructure department holds a senior committee position at Canberra Racing Club, which is embarking on a major residential and commercial development at Thoroughbred Park.
Major Projects Canberra and the racing club say Duncan Edghill has made all of the necessary conflicts of interest disclosures and is not involved in any dealings between the government agency and private organisation.
But the presence of Mr Edghill, who is charged with overseeing light rail's expansion and the Canberra hospital upgrade, on the racing club's board does raise questions, particularly given the club's planned transformation of its Flemington Road racecourse precinct.
The Canberra Times last month reported the club's masterplan flagged up to 3200 homes on the site, as well as commercial space and possibly a hotel and aged-care complex. The racecourse would be retained.
The 12-to-15-year project could inject up to $1 billion into the Canberra economy and support more than 2000 jobs, according to an internal government brief.
The club has been keen to leverage its proximity to the Gungahlin light rail line to spur a redevelopment of Thoroughbred Park, which chief executive Andrew Clark said was key to the organisation and sport's long-term future.
Mr Edghill was one of the key people in charge of delivering the first stage of light rail in his previous role as Transport Canberra boss.
The racing club's records show Mr Edghill was first appointed to the committee on June 30, 2019 - about two months after light rail took its first passengers.
He was elected treasurer of the racing club last year.
Mr Edghill moved from Transport Canberra to head up the newly created major projects agency in July 2019, initially on an interim basis and then full-time.
The infrastructure agency would not be responsible for assessing or approving the racing club's masterplan or any development applications related to the Thoroughbred Park precinct revamp. Those decisions would fall to the ACT's independent planning and land authority.
The racing club plans to start community consultation on the proposal in February. It hopes to gain government approval within three years.
In statements to The Canberra Times, Major Projects Canberra and Canberra Racing Club indicated Mr Edghill's involvement with the two organisations was above board.
A racing club spokeswoman said Mr Edghill, who fills the treasurer's position on a volunteer basis, had made all of the necessary conflicts of interests to both parties and abided by confidentiality obligations. Mr Edghill hadn't provided the club with any information which wasn't already publicly available, the spokeswoman said.
She said Mr Edghill did not represent the club in talks with the ACT government and had on a number of occasions stepped out of board meetings when discussions turned to the relationship between the two.
However, she confirmed he had been involved in committee discussions about the proposed Thoroughbred Park redevelopment when there was "no conflict", such as on matters related to club members and trainers.
"Mr Edghill's role within the ACT government does not involve any matters relating to the Canberra Racing Club, and Mr Edghill always acts with professionalism and integrity in disclosing any potential conflicts and adhering to his confidentiality obligation," she said.
"The Canberra Racing Club does not have access to information from Mr Edghill which is not already in the public domain, but values the leadership, project management and financial experience Mr Edghill brings to the committee - and by extension to the Canberra community - on a voluntary basis from his years in the private and public sectors."
A Major Projects Canberra spokeswoman confirmed Mr Edghill had made a conflict of interest disclosure to the head of the ACT public service, and did not represent the racing club in any meetings or correspondence with territory officials.
ANU emeritus professor John Wanna, who is an expert in public administration, said it was reasonable, and not uncommon, for senior public servants to sit on boards of non-government organisations.
What was important was how they managed potential conflicts of interest, he said.
"On all of these kinds of matters there could be perceptions of too much insider knowledge," he said.
"But from my experience, they often take great steps to ensure that everything is above board."
A spokesman for Chief Minister Andrew Barr said Mr Edghill had met the requirements on senior public servants to disclose private interests.