"There is no election anymore. This isn't just talk. It's time to move forward." Deputy premier John Barilaro was resolute in his belief that his tour of Murray was the "dawn of a new time", in the words of NSW water minister Melinda Pavey.
Yet speaking to a 90 strong crowd on Thursday presented a challenge, seeing the ministers' acknowledge mistakes of the past and attempts to reassure the group of politician-weary MIA irrigators the future was looking up.
Gillian Kirkup, Rice Marketing Board member and Gogeldrie irrigator, said it was a great opportunity for the region's irrigators to have first-hand engagement with the new water minister and deputy premier - they just had to seize the opportunity they presented.
"They said we, as irrigators, representative groups and organisations, have the chance to have input on policy and solutions. We need to all now utilise that and give them our constructive feedback and what our solutions would be," Mrs Kirkup said.
Being present in the meetings in Denillquin as well, she said their message had been consistent throughout the tour and appeared "very genuine".
While saying after she was committed to working with them, it was clear which side of the fence member for Murray Helen Dalton stood on - and it was with the group of irrigators.
Seated in the crowd and not up front with the other government members, Mrs Dalton said it was still great to have them all in the same room.
She hopes to see short-term resolutions for "low-hanging fruit" she says could be dealt with a "flick of a pen", one of which includes the handing back of the "stolen water" of voluntary contributions.
It all seemed to go smoothly enough until Ms Pavey said grapes used more water than cotton - which was met with much chagrin.
"There is nothing worse than being in Sydney and having a glass of wine with somebody, and they say, 'oh we shouldn't be growing cotton in this country or rice,' that is the attitude that we have to counter with our evidence. Because then I say, well not so much rice, but in terms of cotton, grapes use more."
Met with a great deal of dissent, Ms Pavey said she wasn't "going to argue with the people in this room about that but I'll check the tables."
According to Australian Bureau of Statistics data from 2017-2018, grapes use 3.8 megalitres of water per hectare, with cotton using 7.79.
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