A A$1m (US$500,000) bonus paid to Dairy Farmers Co-operative CEO, Alan Tooth, has been slammed by Australian diary farmers as "criminal".

The bonus was handed out just days before Dairy Farmers announced a dramatic 97% fall in profit for the 2000-2001 period, from A$33m to A$770,000.

A spokesman from the company has stressed that the bonus was intended to relate solely to Tooth's performance between 1994 and 1999, but Bobbie Nunn, ward representative for Kilcoy Dairy Farmers, said that the A$1m handout was "criminal" when farmers did not receive a single dividend.