Marcus Thompson from Duffy has been living with his family for the past six weeks at East Hotel after being told be WorkSafe there was loose asbestos in his home. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
Living in a Canberra hotel for more than five weeks has been anything but a holiday for Marcus Thompson and his family.
One of the hardest hit by the unfolding Mr Fluffy asbestos saga, the Duffy builder said his mental health had suffered from the stress of not knowing if or when life would return to normal.
Together with his wife and two young children, Mr Thompson was forced to leave his home after a prohibition notice was issued by asbestos inspectors.
Having recently worked on houses later revealed to have Mr Fluffy loose-fill asbestos, he said the experience had been a nightmare.
"We are looking long term at having to demolish our home and needing somewhere to rent while we rebuild," he said.
"I do feel that although the ACT government has announced this package, which is good and welcomed, we really need the Commonwealth to come to the party as well. It is the only way we will be able to move forward and get people some normality back into their lives."
Mr Thompson said the initial $10,000 assistance announced by Chief Minister Katy Gallagher was likely to cover the cost of the family's growing hotel bill but their other costs were already much higher.
Failed remediation work completed by the federal government in the 1980s and '90s caused the crisis and Mr Thompson said it was the Abbott government's responsibility to rectify the situation.
"We've got some good supporting family around us and we're grateful for that. There are people out there that don't have that luxury and if it wasn't for our parents, we wouldn't be getting through it.
"We'd probably be sleeping in our car to be honest," he said.
The family's home had four separate assessments, each returning different results.
Mr Thompson said he and his wife were trying to give their children as much normality as possible during the upheaval.
ACT Medicare Local said on Thursday it would provide free mental health support to anyone affected by the asbestos crisis.
Chairwoman Rashmi Sharma said residents could be anxious about the potential risks to their health and the displacement from their homes.
"It is normal and expected that people will be experiencing various levels of anxiety in these circumstances,” Dr Sharma said.
"I encourage anyone affected to register with the ACT government’s taskforce. Secondly, I encourage those experiencing psychological distress to speak with their usual family doctor. Their GP will be able to link them up with the most appropriate free service.
"They will also be able to provide them with information about the risks to their physical health of potential asbestos exposure."
Anyone registered with the asbestos taskforce can self-refer for psychological support by calling the NewAccess central intake line on 02 6287 8066.