Australians are generally accepting of cultural diversity and immigration, but concerned about changes impacting on social justice, according to new social research.

However, those living in regional Australia have lower support for immigration, cultural diversity and the resettlement of asylum seekers arriving by boat in Australia than respondents living in capital cities.

The survey report released by the Scanlon Foundation and produced in partnership with Monash University and the Australian Multicultural Foundation also found that people in regional areas are more likely to consider Australiaís immigration intake to be too high with 44% of people holding this view, compared to 36% in capital cities but in both areas, this is a minority view.

People in Melbourne and Canberra have the highest level of support for cultural diversity, compared with those in Brisbane and Perth who are most negative while the lowest level of trust in the federal government was in Victoria, the highest level in Queensland and Western Australia.

Report author, Professor Andrew Markus said while the overall shift in the ScanlonMonash Index of social cohesion was positive and the upward trend in the social cohesion index shows that overall, Australia remains a stable and highly cohesive society.

He explained that it shows experience of discrimination based on ethnic background and religion has lessened from 18% to 15% since 2014 and there continues to be a high level of acceptance of immigration and cultural diversity.

"Most people, 86%, agree that multiculturalism has been good for Australia, almost the same proportion as in 2013 and 2014. However, in the domain of social justice, there has been a decline in satisfaction since the election of the Coalition government. This reflects concern over lack of support for those on low incomes, the increasing gap between rich and poor, and continuing low trust in government," said Markus.

He pointed out that trust in government has been down since 2009. Just 16% of respondents agreed that the system of government in Australia works fine as it is, and only 30% agree that government can be trusted to do the right thing for Australian people ëalmost alwaysí or ëmost of the timeí.

Key findings also show that in 2015, economic concerns remain on top in the ranking of the most important issue facing Australia today, with national security, terrorism, and social issues ranking second.

Economic issues have ranked first as a major problem facing Australia in the last four surveys, but concern is not increasing. In 2015 some 24% of people have indicated dissatisfaction with their present financial situation, the same as the previous year.

In response to questions on integration, two thirds of agreed that Australians should do more to learn about the customs and heritage of immigrants, while a similar proportion agreed that immigrants should change their behaviour to be more like Australians.

"The survey found considerable support for the idea that both people born in Australia and immigrants needed to adapt to life in a changing Australia," said Markus.