Government reef sponsor appeal grates environmentalists

THE Turnbull government has come under fire for calling on the private sector to "sponsor" the Great Barrier Reef.

A brochure advertising the sponsorship opportunities has been put on the Environment Department's website and spruiks "branding" opportunities for corporate firms and philanthropists who fund reef research.

Whitsundays diver and environmental campaigner Tony Fontes said the campaign amounted to the government admitting it could not afford to protect the reef.