Australians are in two minds about multiculturalism, a long-term survey has found.

They believe cultural diversity is good for the country but they're worried that cultural differences will stop everyone from getting along.

An 11-year study by a collaboration of Australian universities has found 85 per cent of Australians acknowledge racial prejudice occurs in the nation and one in five has been a victim of racist verbal abuse.

The study found that 6.5 per cent of the 16,000 Australians surveyed were against multiculturalism.

Professor Kevin Dunn, from the University of Western Sydney's school of social science, said the study revealed that the majority of Australians are pro-multiculturalism but are anxious that the diversity will not be managed well.

"Over 40 per cent of those surveyed feel that cultural differences pose a threat to societal harmony," he said.

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