The infrastructure boom has kick-started the economy and provided hundreds of thousands of jobs during the pandemic.
But it has come at a cost to others.
“To see this happening is a heartbreak” says Chris who runs a coffee shop in Parramatta, in Sydney’s west.
A few doors down at the barbers Fadi says his business “is dying”. Across the road, Sargid says his pizza shop “sold just one pizza yesterday”.
These mum and dad shop owners are struggling in the once bustling retail sector of Parramatta.
The NSW government is building a light rail for the region and when it’s up and running it will enhance the region and bring people in to the area.
But the project has been going on for two long years and with scaffold, dust, noise and fencing surrounding many businesses customers just can’t get into shops and are “avoiding the area” says Chris.
He says he used to sell “50 coffees a day”, but now only sells around 15.
“I’m losing money, have a huge debt to the landlord and can’t cope any longer,” he said.
Many shops have closed down due to the pandemic, and now they are facing hurdles from construction delays.
“Why are their jobs so important and not ours,” says Fadi, pointing to the scores of construction workers digging just a metre from his front door.
Retailers say the government is refusing to give them funding to get through this period and all have racked up “tens of thousands of dollars” in debt.
“There’s not much point in building this mammoth project if the shops aren’t there when it’s finished” says Chris.
The NSW Department of Transport told A Current Affair the light rail will be finished in the next month and has ruled out giving any financial assistance to retailers.