The State Government will ignore its own tough new wages policy to deliver doctors in the public health system an 11-12 per cent pay rise over three years.
The West Austrlian believes the Government and the Australian Medical Association are keen to strike an agreement within weeks that will result in doctors getting a pay rise bigger than the inflation-only wages policy Treasurer Troy Buswell announced in June.
The policy was a key component of the Government's plan to get its rampant recurrent spending growth under control, an issue that became even more critical after the State lost its AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor's last month.
Standard & Poor's criticised the Government for a "lack of political will" in implementing Mr Buswell's "fiscal action plan".
The wages policy, which officially takes effect from Friday, limits future public sector pay rises to inflation. It means doctors should get no more than a 7.7 pay rise over three years.
The doctors' existing agreement expired on September 30 and a deal would be backdated to October 1.
It is believed the Government will defend the deal for doctors on the grounds the existing wages policy - which says any pay rises above inflation can only be awarded in return for productivity trade-offs - still applies.
The specifics of the trade-offs are to be negotiated but the outline of the deal was presented to doctors at a meeting at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital this week.
In Parliament last month, a tough-talking Mr Buswell said Standard & Poor's had sent a message to public sector workers angling for pay rises.
"That message is: forget about it," he said.
It is understood the AMA has leaned heavily in negotiations on the precedent set by the 14 per cent pay rise nurses received that was struck in controversial circumstances during the election caretaker period between the Australian Nurses Federation and the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan was critical of the proposed deal, saying Mr Barnett and Mr Buswell "can't be believed on anything they say".Health Minister Kim Hames said "productive" negotiations with the AMA were continuing and the Government was "optimistic that an agreement will be reached in the near future".