Incumbent East Pilbara president Anthony Middleton will put his hand up to lead the shire for the next four years after retaining his seat at last weekend’s local government election. Mr Middleton, who was catapulted into the role following Lynne Craigie’s resignation this year, retained attracted the second highest vote count behind long-serving councillor Anita Grace. The next shire president will be voted in on Friday, with Mr Middleton tipped to retain the role. Mr Middleton said he was keen to lead stay on as president to help bring new funding for infrastructure and services to the region. “It is certainly a challenge I am looking forward to so we will see how I go on Friday,” he said. “I think the (new councillors) have the right attitude from what I understand to benefiting the community and that is what we are all here for at the end of the day.” Of concern was the 18.45 per cent participation rate — the lowest this century — for the south ward seat, which continued a downward trend in turnout since 2017 when the seat hit a high water-mark of 36.5 per cent. Mr Middleton said late postal voting packages were largely to blame for the low participation rate. “I know people who only received their voting packs in the last week and a half which means unless they were available on Saturday to come in and vote in person their packets would not have been received in time,” he said. “I don’t know if it is a direct reflection of the people’s willingness to vote.” Local scouts and gymnastics club leader Peta Baer and pastoralist-turned-Newman resident Matthew Anick were both elected to council. Lang Coppin, Annabell Landy and Wendy McWhirter-Brooks were each elected unopposed to four year terms in their wards. Ms Baer said she wanted to be a force for positive change in town. “There are a lot of issues people are very vocal about and being part of a community centre as well means i get a lot of insight from people,” she said. “Being able to share that insight and make a positive difference is going to be really exciting.” Ms Grace said she would bring her campaign to improve veterinary services in Newman to the council table as soon as possible.