Sky News can reveal Prime Minister Scott Morrison was a key driver in advising the NSW premier to go harder on restrictions to attempt to quash the virus in Australia’s biggest city.
Harsher restrictions have come into effect since midnight for Greater Sydney as residents brace for the latest coronavirus update to be provided by Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
"The premier announced yesterday that she was shutting all non-essential retail, just like the lockdowns which were so effective last year, but also shutting construction for the first time in this pandemic," Political Editor Andrew Clennell said.
"Why construction? Apparently there were cases spreading in those environments and the modelling showed without this measure it would be difficult to get COVID-19 cases down.
"The fact construction was included did take the federal government by surprise and was one of the reasons Scott Morrison contacted bank bosses yesterday to ensure the support was there for people affected by lockdown.
"In the NSW cabinet crisis committee meeting treasurer Dominic Perrottet, Stuart Ayres and Brad Hazzard argued against the construction closure but were overruled."
Mr Clennell also said Ms Berejiklian was "slow to lock down this latest outbreak" after the air crew driver "stuff up and leak last month".
"She needed some pressure, from several quarters, to act," he said.
"You will see continual mentions of the health advice by Berejiklian as she justifies her decisions."