Prime Minister Scott Morrison has criticised Victoria's roadmap out of coronavirus lockdown, arguing the same standards would put Sydney under curfew.
The state government's "safe and steady" roadmap to recovery will see Melbourne continue under strict curfew and lockdown until the end of September.
Most restrictions on trade will remain until at least late October, while other rules will stay in place until the end of November.
Mr Morrison wants restrictions lifted quicker, but conceded Victoria would have the final say.
"The plan that was outlined yesterday, I hope, is a worst-case scenario," he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.
Moving between the stages of the roadmap relies on new infections dropping to five or fewer in one major step, and no new cases for two weeks for the final phase.
The prime minister indicated Victoria's contact tracing capability wasn't up to scratch, comparing it to NSW, despite his home state dealing with far fewer cases.
He also vowed to interrogate the plan and demanded state authorities show him detailed modelling underpinning the strategy.
"Under the thresholds that have been set in that plan, Sydney would be under curfew now," Mr Morrison said.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews rejected that claim, saying there had not been widespread community transmission in NSW.
"Common sense tells you, if you ask our contact tracers to win an unfair fight, well then they won't," he told reporters in Melbourne.
"If you say go and chase 5000 people a day in cases and close contacts, very few jurisdictions can do that - if any."
Mr Morrison also threw down the gauntlet to Victoria on economic support, making any further federal funding contingent on state spending.
Mr Andrews said he was confident the federal government would continue to provide support through JobKeeper wage subsidies.
Federal Health Department secretary Brendan Murphy labelled the Victorian strategy as very conservative.
"If there were more confidence in the public health response capability, you could take some slightly more generous triggers," he said.
Federal Labor's health spokesman Chris Bowen refused to criticise Mr Andrews, saying it was important to support all decision makers, no matter what their political party.
"Scott Morrison wants states back to normal by Christmas - Dan Andrews has provided a roadmap to do so, and then the feds are ripping in to him."
Australia's coronavirus death toll is 762 after Victoria recorded nine more fatalities on Monday.
There were 41 new cases recorded across the state - the lowest daily increase in two months.
Outside of Victoria, there are four new cases of coronavirus in NSW - three healthcare workers at two Sydney hospitals and a returned overseas traveller in hotel quarantine.
More than 100 health workers across the hospitals are in isolation after a colleague caught the virus while wearing a mask.
Queensland recorded two more infections, including in a health worker, sparking a pause of elective surgeries at the Ipswich Hospital.
Australian Associated Press