WHEN Bunbury resident Tahuahi Ashby left Western Australia for Sydney 12 months ago he didn't think it would still require a triple-dose of COVID-19 vaccination and quarantine at his own expense in order to return.
Mr Ashby left his Bunbury home in 2012 to move to Perth and then to Sydney in 2021, to join his partner Michael Carpenter, who had received a work opportunity.
Mr Ashby hasn't seen his mother, Donna Niha-Tai, for almost a year.
The hard border into WA was frequently changing so they had to get the timing right as to visit her without having to quarantine.
"We suffered many headaches with rebooking travel plans in trying to keep up with the latest border directions."
In November Premier Mark McGowan indefinitely deferred the opening of the state's borders, instead announcing new hard border settings for WA in the wake of the Omicron spread of COVID-19.
Mr Ashby said while he understood delaying the opening of the WA border was to protect residents, the state was "not moving forward."
"I am fully vaccinated - but not being able to enter WA without quarantine for a fully vaccinated person is absolutely mind blowing," he said.
"Along with thousands of others - I'm trying to plan a time to catch up with my mother and we were very much looking forward to life post February 5.
"The borders now require 90 per cent plus of the WA population to have booster shots - but when will it end? How many boosters will be considered fully vaccinated in WA?
"In my opinion - having freedom comes with a price, which is the state accepting the fact that it's no longer a race to try and stay COVID free - but rather about how to safely manage your infection at home and when to raise the alarm."
Having already recovered from COVID-19, Mr Ashby said he found it "relatively easy" to manage the virus at home.
"The myth that COVID will be kept out of WA forever is just that - a myth."Bunbury-resident Tahuahi Ashby
He said the "general vibe" in Sydney now was that people were optimistic about moving forward from COVID-19.
"We are now completely free to move around and go about our lives, accepting that we might get COVID sometime, from somewhere.
"I think when the borders do open in WA, Bunbury residents can expect to see a large influx of interstate tourists who are wanting to see the gorgeous beaches and sights - so my advice is that people just keep their hands clean and wear a mask.
"The myth that COVID will be kept out of WA forever is just that - a myth."