(Image: AAP/UNSW Water Research Laboratory)

Australia is crumbling into the sea. Experts estimate there are hundreds of beaches and coastal communities around the country at risk from coastal erosion. Within decades, as sea levels rise, that number could be in the thousands.

Last year, the Western Australian state government identified 55 "hotspots" where coastal erosion is expected to cause serious issues within 25 years. Towns up and down the coast are seeing roads washed away, and buildings and homes under threat.

In July last year, WA Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan told the ABC that dumping sand on the coast to try and hold the sea back was not a viable long-term solution. Entire coastal communities would simply need to retreat.