NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has spoken of her leadership style of “holding your nerve”, as she deals with the escalating Avalon outbreak that has Sydney on edge days before Christmas.
The Premier has been undoubtedly under pressure to respond to the increasing number of cases as well as explain that response in the face of growing criticism.
Some health experts have been calling for tougher restrictions than those reinstated on Monday and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews openly raised concerns saying “without mandatory masks and stay-at-home orders, we don’t have confidence the situation remains safe”.
It’s prompted some testy retorts from Ms Berejiklian over the past few days to the commentary.
“There’s also an element of holding your nerve,” the Premier said in a press conference on Tuesday.
“If you have confidence in your processes, if you have confidence in the strategy, you do also take that into account.”
She also went on to justify the strategy the state was using.
“There is no doubt that when we consider decisions we take, it’s not just to look at the health impacts, but societal impacts — what it means for the greater population,” Ms Berejiklian said.
The Avalon outbreak also reignited the disagreement between states around the closing of borders as they were slammed shut across the nation to people from Greater Sydney.
Ms Berejiklian took a swipe at the approach from other states.
“The decisions we take look at the bigger picture,” she said.
“That’s why my frustration at various stages of the pandemic with my other colleagues in other states is please consider the compassionate grounds.
“We waited until Victoria had consistently 140, 120, 160 cases a day before we closed our border to Victoria.”
What she didn’t add was that some of the state’s biggest outbreaks, including the Crossroads Hotel, which resulted in 57 cases, came from Victoria before the border was closed.
But the Premier seems determined to set herself apart from other state leaders, while maintaining New South Wales’s reputation as the “gold standard” for managing a pandemic.
That means, Ms Berejiklian will certainly need a lot of “nerve” as she prepares to make a decision tomorrow on restrictions around Christmas Day.