WIMMERA Development Association executive director Ralph Kenyon believes the region’s view on Muslim immigration is more positive than that of a national poll.
It came as an Essential Research poll released on Wednesday found 49 per cent of Australians support a ban on Muslim immigration, including 60 per cent of Coalition voters, 40 per cent of Labor voters and 34 per cent of Greens voters.
The most common reasons for wanting a ban were fears over terrorism, and a belief that Muslim migrants do not integrate into society nor share Australian values.
The poll was first done in early August and then repeated to ensure it was not a rogue.
Mr Kenyon said he was surprised by the results of the poll.
The Wimmera Development Association runs a migrant settlement program in the region.
“The migrants we have coming to the Wimmera are eminently good citizens,” Mr Kenyon said.
“That’s why I was surprised by the results.”
Mr Kenyon said he would be surprised if the region’s views were similar to the poll results.
“There would be pockets of people who have those views but I think by and large our community is very tolerant and very accepting,’ he said.
Mr Kenyon said the association’s role was to support anyone who wished to come to the Wimmera as best as they could. “Any sort of limitation on different people or groups is obviously a concern to those people,” he said.
Essential Research pollster Peter Lewis said the results showed mainstream political parties needed to re-engage with outsider politics as disenfranchised voters flocked to the fringes.
"It's too a big a number to say it's an unrepresentative rump that should be shunned from polite society," he said.
"The fault lines in the political climate are not between the two major parties – they're between insiders and outsiders.”
A Roy Morgan poll in October last year found broad support for Muslim immigration, with 28 per cent of respondents declaring themselves opposed.